March 16 National General Strike in Greece
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the influential Greek labor organization, the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME). Thursday 16 March, ALL ON STRIKE! All at the strike rallies of the unions across the country! In Athens 11:30am at the Propylaea! OUR LIVES ARE NOT A COST – OUR LIVES HAVE VALUE!
We demand the life we deserve, a life with modern rights based on our time, a better future for us and our children.
Two weeks have passed since the crime in Tempe, Larissa and the country is shaking with anger and daily struggle. The strike on March 8 that shook every city in the country with the pulse of the workers and youth, the big rallies, the daily mobilizations, the banners in schools, neighborhoods, stadiums are the best answer to those who try to hide the crime and to shake off all responsibility.
The demand not to cover up the crime in Tempe means to strengthen now the struggle against the system of profit, its state and its governments. This means that the whole country to go on halt again on Thursday March 16, the day of a nationwide General strike.
PAME called on all trade unions, the National Federations, the Regional Trade Union Centers, the base level unions, to take into their hands the preparation for the success of the strike on 16 March! To make use of every second, to work night and day to reach every workplace, the factories, the yards, the ports, the shops, the hotels.
Let Thursday’s strike become a volcano of struggle that the voice of those killed in the murderous trains to be heard all over the country!
Their profits – Our dead!
The days pass, but nothing can erase the real responsibilities of the murder in Tempe! It is now clearer that the cause of treating human life as fuel for the profitability of business groups is not some personal oversight or a simple human error.
The culprit is the state of the few, the policy of commercialisation that degrades human life and weighs it in the cost-benefit ratio, where the cost is the life of the people and the benefit is the profits of the business groups.
We have around us more ‘valleys of the Tempe’!
All these days, there is a growing concern in the minds of many workers from every sector, from every workplace.
Is it modern and normal for our lives to be characterized by the phrase “we go and whatever happens”? To start our shift with our lives on the line? The dozens of workplace “accidents”, i.e. the employer crimes that are on the increase, have the same cause as the crime in Tempe. The profits of the few! Our safety, the protection of human life is being squeezed to the limits of corporate profitability. Low “cost” is the cheap worker, the worker who works without protection measures, the worker whose access to the public and free health care system is made more difficult, who is pushed to the private clinics for his health.
In the system of profit and exploitation, “good” transport is the expensive transport with the lowest possible wage costs. This is why behind the windows of the “silver arrows” on the Greek railways, the telecommand system was non-existent, layoffs and retrenchment of workers led to cuts in safety and intensification of work, with outsourcing escalating (e.g. cleaners). These are now coming to light despite persistent warnings from workers and their unions.
We do not fit a life where protection comes at a cost, dignity will lie between evictions and auctions of homes, wage raises-breadcrumbs which force us to cut even basic necessities. We must not accept a future that is being prepared for a life of living on coupons and dying on a one-way ticket.
You count profits and losses – We count human lives!
Not only is it not modern but it’s outrageous to count 2 more dead, young workers in the last 10 days and this passes in silence. We cannot accept living in agony whether we will return on two feet back to our families because in modern ghettos, intensification is harvesting deaths along with occupational diseases, which are on the increase due to the lack of health and safety measures.
Questions have been raised especially in the last few days about the simple things that are not taken for granted. Where are the emergency exits in stations, in workplaces? What escape plan is there in large workplaces in case of natural disasters? Where are the famous occupational physicians in large factories, in logistics, in large shopping centers, in workplaces where large numbers of workers are concentrated? The lack of safety measures seems to exist in all transport, in buses, trolleybuses, metro, trams, ferries, airports! This is what the unions in these sectors have been denouncing for years. Now they must be listened to, now immediate action must be taken to ensure that human lives do not become mere numbers.
The experience of the last 12 years and the tragic disasters that have put their stamp on this course of capitalist barbarism confirm that there are no “messiahs”! Our lives are worth living and we want them safe for ourselves and especially for our children! Dozens are the young people who “didn’t make it”. We will not let it pass!
It is a debt for every worker, every young person and youth, to continue to demand the obvious: The crime must not be covered up!
To strengthen the struggle for:
- Modern, safe, cheap mass transport against the policy that puts the safety of passengers and the rights of workers in the balance of the costs and profitability of business groups.
- The strengthening of the public and free health care system
- Immediate flood, fire and earthquake protection measures. Control here and now of earthquake armoring in schools, colleges, hospitals, workplaces.
- Immediate measures to protect health and safety in all workplaces.
- Recruitment of permanent staff in health, education, social services, civil protection services
- Let the whole country STOP again on Thursday!
EVERYONE ON STRIKE!