Greek workers organized a general strike on Wednesday, November 9, holding massive mobilizations against the anti-worker policies of employers and the conservative New Democracy (ND)-led government. They also demanded effective measures to tackle the ongoing cost of living crisis. The protests were called by trade unions, including the All Workers Militant Front (PAME). Political parties, including the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and youth-student groups like the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) and Students’ Struggle Front (MAS), among others, participated.
Massive rallies were held in the Greek capital Athens as well as in cities including Thessaloniki, Patras, Larissa, Komotini, Piraeus, Elefsina, and Kozani. The protesters demanded an increase in wages and pensions, a cap on the prices of essential foodstuffs and energy, and an end to the ongoing persecution of workers. Protesting workers of mining company LARCO and the Malamatina Winery also actively participated in the general strike and mobilizations on Wednesday.
The Greek working class has been protesting against the anti-worker clauses in the reforms brought in by Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis to the labor code, as dictated by the European Union (EU). Since the onset of the cost of living crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war and profiteering by multinational energy distributors, workers and the poor have been struggling to make ends meet. To mitigate the crisis, unions like PAME have demanded an increase in wages, new collective labor agreements, abolition of VAT on consumer goods, taxes on electricity, and gas companies and a cap on fuel prices. Working class and other anti-imperialist sections in the county have also denounced the government’s involvement in the transfer of arms and ammunition that are destined for imperialist conflicts.
In his statement on November 9, KKE Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas said, “Today’s great nationwide strike sends the message to all of Greece, to all of Europe, that the Greek people, their movement will not become accomplices, will not show any tolerance to the anti-grassroots policy of the rulers, the other parties of big business, energy poverty and EU policies, and the rot of the capitalist system.”
PAME stated, “Today the anger and indignation that all the working people feel became dynamic, mass participation in the struggle. The images of the working-class river flooding every street in the center of Athens cannot be hidden. With today’s mass strikes, thousands of workers have sent a clear message to the state and employers that they will not go hungry, they will not cool down, and the working-class families will not be targeted for the profits of the few.”