Monday, January 09, 2012

Trade Unionists support Greek Resistance!

THERE'S a demonstration taking place outside the Greek embassy this evening, and trade unionists awakening from the holiday period to a renewed struggle are focussing attention on Greece. There in the face of massive resistance to austerity measures a banker-led right-wing "unity" government is entrusted by European Union capitalists with saving their economy by imposing their will. That's why a court case re-opening tomorrow has meaning for us all.

As Eric Lee of the international news link LabourStart says:

" If you're a trade unionist fighting to ensure that workers don't pay the price for the global financial crisis they didn't create, 2012 looks like it will be a challenging year.

"On Thursday 24 November 2011, the Greek police arrested Nikos Photopoulos, President of the power workers' union GENOP/DEI, along with more than a dozen of his fellow trade unionists. They will appear in court on Tuesday 10 January 2012 to face charges that could see them jailed for up to five years.

"They were protesting against part of the Greek austerity measures - the cutting off of power to people unable to pay a new property tax, levied regardless of income or wealth and added to all electricity bills. The new tax is just the most recent 'austerity' action by the Greek government. The abolition of the national minimum wage and the lowering of employer-paid taxes are next.

"Please take a moment to send a message to the Greek Prime Minister in support of the campaign Greek trade union confederation GSEE, which is calling for the charges to be dropped.

Just go HERE to send your message.

And please don't forget to pass this message along to your contacts, and to use your Twitter, Google+ and Facebook accounts to help us get the word out.


Eric Lee

The TUC has also endorsed a call for solidarity with Greek workers with this statement from the Greek trade unions:


The GSEE stands in full solidarity with GENOP/DEI President Nikos Photopoulos and our other colleagues who await trial on 10 January 2012 because of the protest sit-in last November at the Company's computing headquarters to prevent the levying of the brutal emergency property tax via electricity bills as part of the devastating austerity imposed on Greek people.

We once more call on the authorities to refrain from penalizing trade union action and drop the charges against trade unionists who defend the right of citizens to unimpeded access to a vital public good that is doubly essential in these trying times of utmost hardship.

We note that the court hearing comes at a time when DEH-the Greek Public Power Corporation S.A., regardless of the extreme adversity endured by Greek families, callously announced new raises of 15-20% in the price of electricity as of January 2012 to compensate for its use of environment-polluting lignite.

We also note that this hearing precedes by a few days the new advent of the Troika team in Greece with renewed outrageous demands dictating the abolition of the National Collective Labour Agreement and the minimum wage, new wage and pension cuts, immediate mass lay-offs in the public sector and lowering employers' social security contributions.

We firmly reiterate that the GSEE unequivocally refuses any discussion that will undermine the National Collective Labour Agreement and the minimum wage which is the last bastion of protection for workers and will firmly oppose any such attempt.

The Greek trade union movement united will continue its struggle against every brutality directed against our income, our rights, our families, our lives and the future of our country.

GSEE - Greek General Confederation of Labour

ISLINGTON branch of the public service union Unison has sent a delegation to the Greek embassy and circulated an international appeal which it is urging British trade unionists to support. It is forwarding the letter of support to the Greek power union GENOP:

Statement by the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples ( ILC)

Stop the prosecution of Nikos Photopoulos and his comrades from the GENOP-DEH union immediately!

We have just been informed by representatives of the Greek public power company union GENOP-DEH of the repression affecting 15 Greek members of the GENOP-DEH union:

On 24 November 2011, squads of riot police (MAT) stormed the power company’s offices in Mesogeion Avenue in Athens and violently cleared it of workers and trade unionists who had been staging a sit-in for a few days. The offices are responsible for cutting off the electricity supply to the thousands of working-class families that are refusing to pay the new property tax imposed by the Greek government by order of the Troika (IMF-European Commission-European Central Bank), which is being levied through the electricity bills. The same offices are in charge of cutting off the supply to the thousands of families which, due to the crisis, can no longer pay their bills.

On 30 November 2011, fifteen trade unionists, including GENOP-DEH General Secretary Nikos Photopoulos, appeared in court, charged with "obstructing the forces of order" and "obstructing the correct functioning of the public services". They face prison sentences of 6 months to 5 years without remission. On the eve of a new general strike called for 1 December by the trade union confederations GSEE and ADEDY, the government has decided it would be wiser to hold fire, and the court has postponed its ruling until 10 January 2012.

Throughout the world, the workers and peoples are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Greek workers and their trade union organisations as they engage in the battle against the Troika's barbaric plans being implemented by the Greek government. Their actions are legitimate, just as the actions of the Greek power workers and their trade union to prevent the power disconnections and to demand the withdrawal of the new tax imposed by the government are legitimate.

No worker, no labour activist and no democratic labour organisation can accept this threat of repression, which would be a blow against all labour and democratic rights .

This is why the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples has decided to inform all labour organisations around the world of these extremely serious facts, and to invite them to build on the efforts, in whichever form they see fit, to demand that the Greek authorities immediately drop the legal proceedings against the GEOP-DEH union members, and to express their solidarity with them.

The co-ordinators of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples
Louisa Hanoune, General Secretary of the Workers Party (Algeria)
Daniel Gluckstein, National Secretary of the Independent Workers Party ( France )

Among those who have added their names in Britain are John McDonnell MP ; Neil Findlay Labour Member of Scottish Parliament ; Drew Smith Labour Member of Scottish Parliament Ian Hodson National President Bakers Food & Allied workers union BFAWU ; Alex Gordon President RMT ; Billy Hayes, General Secretary CWU; CJR Kitchen General Secretary National Union of Mineworkers ; Tim Wilson, National Chair, Napo ; . Tony Burke Unite the Union ; Helen Davies UNISON Nec ; Mike Calvert Deputy - Chair Islington Unison Dr. Nat M. Queen University and College Union Birmingham , Mick Hubbard, GMB ; Glyn Beagley King’s College London, Anthony Dooley, Ipswich Association, National Union of Teachers, Matt Wells PCS union Defra London Branch ; Nadim Mahjoub Teacher, LSE, Nick Phillips Vice-President Southwark TUC ; Michael Edwards Professor UCL London, Dr John J O'Dowd University and College Union (Glasgow University Branch) Health & Safety Representative, Henry Mott UNITE the UNION Southwark ; Helen Peters, UCU ; Rob Jackson University of Keele ; Roger MacKay President Ipswich & District Trades Union Council, John Calderon Hackney Labour Party ; Nick Kelleher, Secretary, Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council ; Ben Rickman, Secretary, Brent Trades Union Council, Lorraine Douglas ; Anne McCormack Branch secretary St Helens College UNISON ; Geoff Turner University and Colleges Union retired member Sheffield ; George Binette Camden UNISON Branch Secretary ; Ken Muller Assistant Secretary Isligton NUT ; Mark Hollinrake PCS/Unite Trade Unions ; Mark Hoskisson Secretary of Liverpool Trades Union Council ; Richard Morgan Sec Derbyshire Community Branch GMB Acting President, Derby Area TUC (DATUC) ; Marie Lynam, GMB Union ; Michael .Loughlin UCU Manchester University ; Jane Doolan UNISON Islington ; Rosemary Plummer Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap );Jenny Densham; Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Fiona Monkman Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Alex Wood Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Dean Ryan Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Jenny Mackley Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Andrew Berry Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Keith Facey Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Sonita Singh Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Yesim Senler Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Diana James Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Lynne Moffat Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Mark Lysaght Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Garwin Samlal Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Paul Murphy Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Alan Wylie Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Alan Rylatt Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); John Philpott Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Don Euripides Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ) ; Sean O'Neill Islington UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap ); Kuldip Binning UNISON Branch Committee ( pers cap);Jane Luke UNISON Islington ; Terry Luke UNISON Islington ; Jim Hollinshead (Liverpool John Moores University UCU ; John Williams Liverpool and North West UCU RMB ; M Sargent Secretary of Dover District trades council and RMT Dover ; Karl Rogers Learning Organiser – South TSSA Learning ; Prof. Philip Moriarty School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham ; Councillor Jim Mackechnie Glasgow City Council ; Fiona Monkman Islington Unison ; Councillor Richard Bertin Vale of Glamorgan Council ; Manchester University UCU Branch, Professor Anton Schütz School of Law Birkbeck College London Richard Carabine UCU Committee member & Health & Safety Rep Birkbeck College London ; Suriyakumari Lane Birkbeck College London ; ; Professor Costas Douzinas Birkbeck School of Law London ; Lucie Wibberley Barrister ; Fiona O’May, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh ; Randy Banks President of the University of Essex Local Association of UCU ; Louise Mauborgne Universioty of Leeds ; George Paizis ; Barry White National Union of Journalists ; Vince Mills Chair, Labour Campaign for Socialism, Scotland ; Graham Dyer UCU President SOAS, University of London ; Dr Alan L Bogg Senior Tutor, Fellow and Tutor in Law Hertford College, Oxford ; Keith Ewing School of Law King's College London ;Professor Bill Bowring Barrister, Birkbeck College London, International Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist lawyers ; John Hendy QC ; Liz Davies, Barrister ; Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers ; Nicola Kountouris Faculty of Law University College London ; Pete Keenlyside National Executive member, CWU ; John R Holmes Retired member of the Communication Workers Union

Messages to be sent to:

GENOP-DEH Union : et

(copy to be sent to the ILC :

Greek Prime Minister Papademos

Greek Minister of Labour

Ministry of Labour

40 Pireos Str. 10182 ATHENS, GREECE

Fax: +30 210 5295 186

Greek Minister of justice

Ministry of Justice

96, Messoghion Avenue 11527 Ambelopiki

Athens -


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