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Second general strike in a month rocks Greece

By brad

Participants in Greek general strike March.

Athens, Greece – More than 40,000 workers marched from Omonia Square to Syntagma Square in front of the Greek parliament Dec. 3 as part of a nationwide general strike against austerity measures.

The general strike was initiated by the All Workers Militant Front (PAME), Greece’s class struggle union. Other unions also mobilized. The strike had strong participation from Greece’s key industrial sectors including shipping and construction. Contingents of workers marched from many workplaces and sectors, along with large contingents of pensioners, the self-employed and students also participating. The march in central Athens was just one of more than 60 rallies that PAME organized all over Greece.

The strike today comes two days before the Greek parliament is scheduled to vote on the budget which includes draconian attacks on workers. The ‘troika’ of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have imposed painful austerity measures on Greece for more than five years which have led to massive unemployment and perpetual economic crisis. The Greek government is now attempting to impose the third round of painful cuts demanded by the Troika.

Today’s strike protested the cuts, aiming to defend social security rights, protect pensions and demand the reinstatement of all losses that workers have suffered the previous years. It also responded to the new offensive that is being prepared against workers’ salaries and against even more massive layoffs.

Today’s strike comes two weeks after another nationwide general strike. PAME is calling on all unions and other sectors of society to escalate their resistance to stop the government’s anti-worker plans.

A delegation of U.S. trade unionists who are in Greece for a seminar with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) attended PAME’s march to Syntagma Square and were warmly welcomed by the striking workers. According to Rafael Justo, a seminar participant from SEIU 1199 in New York, “The workers wanted to be out in the street. It didn’t take much to convince them to come out. They understand. I was very impressed by that.” Another seminar participant, Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME 3800 from Minnesota said, “There are so few strikes taking place in the U.S. that many don’t realize the power that we have as workers. Today’s strike shut down transportation, malls, factories and shipping lines. It was awe inspiring to see the Greek working class standing up and fighting back in a massive way against austerity.”

See more photos of the general strike here:

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