Category: Labor
Solidarity with the striking workers at FIAT factory in Serbia

Friday, July 14, 2017

Solidarity with the striking workers at FIAT factory in Serbia
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which is the militant voice of 92 million workers in 126 countries all over the world, stands firmly by the side of the 2.000 workers of the factory of FIAT Chrysler Automobiles, automobile assembly plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, who are on strike since Tuesday 27 June 2017.
The workers have taken strike action against the intensification of work, which increased after numerous workers were dismissed from the factory, while the factory tries to produce a high number of cars per day. Their main demands also include wage increase and transport allowance.
WFTU, on behalf of the world class-oriented trade union movement, calls the working class of Serbia and internationally to support the struggle of the workers of the factory of FIAT in Kragujevac. This factory has great profits from cars production and exportation that are gained through the exploitation of its workers and through the intensification of work, with dramatic results on their health and safety.
International solidarity with FIAT workers in Serbia to continue their struggle until the satisfaction of their just demands!
* * * 
Dear Comrades, we wish to bring the following important matters to your attention:
Workers at the factory of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Serbian subsidiary FCA Srbija in Kragujevac are on strike over excessive workload and low wages.
The strike began on Tuesday 27 June after two days of warning protests. Two thousand blue collar workers, representing 90 per cent of the workforce, have taken strike action to demand a small wage increase, paid overtime, an end to layoffs, a reorganization of work to cut workload, and compensation for transport costs for shifts that start or finish when there in no public transport.
The core issue is the intensification of work, and low wages. Last summer, a whole shift was laid off, but the volume of work stayed the same.
Workers took strike action after management refused to negotiate.
The strike is seen as a highly significant test of Serbian workers’ ability to resist the intensification of work, and win a decent living wage. Many European auto manufacturers have shifted production to Eastern Europe, where wages are low. FCA Srbija production workers earn about 400 Euros per month. Recently, Slovakian VW workers won a significant wage increase after taking strike action.
The strike committee’s demands are as follows:
1.  Increase the minimum wage per hour from 2 to 2,40 Euros (290 dinars);
2. Improve production organization, and replace workers who are absent for maternity and paternity leave, or for long periods of illness;
3. Recognize bonuses linked both to the achievement of efficiency goals and to the recognition of bronze and silver in World Class Manufacturing principles;
4. Apply the collective bargaining agreement to both the transport allowance when working outside the standard working hours and no public transport is available (at night from 22.00 to 05.00).
The way foreign “investment” works in Serbia and neighbouring countries goes well beyond standard bourgeois exploitation. The term “investment” here has truly turned into its opposite. Most of the expenses are paid out of the state budget, leaving the private owners to accumulate more and more super-profits without any serious risk to their businesses.
The workers in Kragujevac aren’t the only ones who decided to intensify the class struggle. More and more strikes are being reported throughout Serbia and other former-Yugoslav lands. “Falk East” in Knjaževac, “Goša” in Smederevo, the Railways of the Serb Republic (Serb part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), and the list goes on… As the economic crisis deepens and the cost of living grows, the purchasing power and working conditions are deteriorating at a rapid pace. The intensification and expansion of class struggle is becoming the only way to survive.
On behalf of the rights of workers factory of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Serbian to fight for their legitimate demands, we call for international solidarity.
Please, send message of solidarity to our email.
With comradely greetings,
International Relations Section of the CC of the NKPJ.
Microsoft accumulates immense profits, starts layoff of thousands of employees worldwide

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Microsoft accumulates immense profits, starts layoff of thousands of employees worldwide
The multinational giant Microsoft– despite its immense profits- is laying off more than 3,000 employees, with the cuts falling largely on the company’s sales force. The vast majority of layoffs will hit employees located outside the United States, although some will also be in Redmond. Greek Telecommunication & IT Workers Unions has condemned the lay offs:
The Telecommunications & Information Technology Unions of Athens, Thessaloniki, Forthnet and 360 Connect (Vodafone) members of PAME (All-Workers Militant Front) and WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions) condemn the multinational Microsoft, which announced that it will lay-off 3000-4000 from its sales departments.

The “reason” of the layoffs is the company’s decision to proceed with restructuring aiming at the further development of other services eg cloud. The use of the new possibilities offered by science and technology development under the ongoing effort the of monopolies to increase their profitability and competitiveness leads thousands of workers to unemployment, even to giant companies such as Microsoft.

The policy of layoffs in the context of restructuring to boost profitability has been followed by other IT companies around the world. In a sector of tremendous profitability, the extreme competition of business groups requires continuous sacrifices from the workers, deterioration in working conditions, wage cuts and abolition of workers’ rights.
Against the anti-workers’ policies of the business groups, workers have the weapon of organization and solidarity
We express our solidarity to the thousands of Microsoft employees and call them to coordinate our struggle, to protect our jobs and our rights
Telecommunications & Information Technology Union of Athens
Telecommunications & Information Technology Union of Thessaloniki
Telecommunications & Information Technology Union Forthnet
Telecommunications & Information Technology Union 360.
Source: PAME.
Greek tourism industry: Unpaid labour, starvation wages and huge profits for the monopoly groups

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Greek tourism industry: Unpaid labour, starvation wages and huge profits for the monopoly groups
What lies behind the luxurious and idyllic facade of Greece’s tourism industry? The answer is that tourism consists another field for monopolies’ profitability, based on unpaid workers, layoffs, unsourced workers, starvation wages, lack of collective agreements etc. 
This is the actual meaning of “economic growth” that the SYRIZA-ANEL government, as well as the New Democracy and the other bourgeois parties, promote. 
Even if thousands of tourists arrive in Greece every day, hundreds of employees work daily to the tourism industry with humiliating salaries and exhausting shifts that last from dawn till dusk. The average – daily room rate on all 4-5-star hotels is equal to the salary of a waiter! In a tourist country like Greece, where 25 million of tourists are expected this summer, hotel workers cannot afford a decent vacation and relaxing period. This is Capitalism.
On July 20 workers on Hotel-Tourism-Catering in Greece are going on Strike against the worsening of the working conditions and demand the reinstatement of Collective Contracts for the whole sector, especially the big, 5star hotels, owned by big multinational corporations.
PAME (All-Workers Militant Front), the forces of which actively support the preparation of the strikes, inform and participate in the initiatives for the success of the mobilization, calls all labour unions to express their solidarity with the strike of the Hotel-Tourism-Catering workers.
The Unions’ call to the strike follows:
 Workers in tourism, hotels and catering industry in Greece
Cookswaitersmaidscleaning personnelsalesmen, receptionists, travel agents, and all other employees to hotels, catering companies, restaurants, etc
We cannot stand anymore the starvation wages, with no collective agreements. Working non-stop overtime shifts, without insurance and social security and sometimes even without getting paid for months.
Dozens of trade unions of tourism, hotels & catering industry from all over Greece, are calling you to join and protest with us:
  • The “fairytale” of the SYRIZA Government and employees that all workers in tourism benefit from the growth of Tourism in Greece does not convince anyone of us who suffer from their policies.
  • They lie when they claim that we are working, that we are well-paid employees and we work under descent working conditions.
The reason is that the workers in tourism & catering industry in Greece, not only suffer from unemployment, but also are part-time workers, poorly paid- if not unpaid- and our health is brutally abused to their modern 5star hotels!!!
Even worse, we live the exploitation daily to the chain catering companies, where we get hired & fired in a blink of an eye, when workers cannot work under extreme pressure.
We will not remain silent!
Hundreds of us work only on seasonal jobs. Many work only 3 days per week.
At the same time, other colleagues have to work non stop for more than 10hours per day as “outsourced workers” through outsourcing “slave-trade”companies.
Young people that now work first time in tourism sector, full of dreams, end up sleeping in containers during the tourist season, working for free in order to “get experienced”.
And if by chance they are paid something, that is not enough, not even for their transportation from/to the working place. On the same time, the situation for the employees with contracts is not much better.
Nowadays Greece faces a unique growth, with an income exceeding every year €15 billion coming from our job while most of us do not have the necessary to survive. While welcoming 30million tourists every year in a country with more than 10.000 hotels and hundreds of restaurants, café, bars, very few of us have ourselves the “luxury” to go on holiday with their families.
This is the tourism they want to impose, a tourism that destroys & vanishes every single small working place and businessman who tries to compete the big business group of companies. This is the development they want to bring everywhere. And this is the truth.
Workers at Athens Ledra Hotel. Athens Ledra, one of the biggest 5-star hotels in the centre of Athens, suspended its operation just on the beginning of summer high season, end of May 2016. The owners of the hotel, who became richer, all these years that tourism is growing in Greece, literally abandoned the 230 employees without salary for more than 3 months. The employers decided to invest their funds to other business activities (constructions, energy etc), where the government grants are bigger. Pure capitalism.

  • We must take over.
  • We must raise our voice.
  • We must strengthen our resistance and our demands along with the trade unions that care about the workers and their rights.
  • Through a massive participation to the strike, in order to impose to the employers to accept collective agreements, all around the country
  • By demanding to live and work in a descent way, with a salary enough to cover our needs
  • By demanding the abolition of any new way , which the employers find, every now and then, in order to impose cuts to our salaries
  • By gaining, through our fight, protection & insurance measures for the unemployed colleagues and their families, during the entire duration of the unemployment
  • By demanding the abolition of the outsourcing companies that act as modern “slave traders”, in order all of us to have job with rights.
  • By fighting for human working conditions, health and safety in the working place
We shall take initiatives in order to inform all our colleagues around Greece for the demands we have and expose the employers and the extreme exploitation we’ ve been through We shall become better on revealing what is their “growth”, which steps on us and our lives for their profit. We must demand our growth, which will bring a life with dignity and rights for us and our families, for everyone. We must fight for our lives, in order to be able to go on holidays, enjoy cultural activities and recreate ourselves, not by buying all these as a luxury, but as a common right being deprived by the majority of the people today
With The Class Trade Unions On The Front Line
We Fight For Our Needs.
July 20 National Strike In Tourism.
Hoffa: Opioid Use Due to Broken System
| July 5, 2017 | 8:41 pm | Health Care, Labor, political struggle | No comments

Hoffa: Opioid Use Due to Broken System

By Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa
Published in the Detroit News, July 5, 2017

Our country’s opioid epidemic which claims the lives of 91 Americans every day is hurting far too many families in Michigan and across the country.

Opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin, killed more than 33,000 people in this country in 2015, the most on record. The epidemic is straining both public services and state budgets. With a problem this big, there is no one solution that will help everyone. But elected officials and groups like the Teamsters are getting involved to help stop this scourge.

In Michigan, for example, Attorney General Bill Schuette recently proposed using some $860,000 in settlement money the state is set to receive from a national lawsuit settlement with Johnson & Johnson to fund a public health campaign on opioid addiction.

For our part, the Teamsters Union is leading a shareholder effort to demand accountability from our country’s largest wholesale drug distributors for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic. In addition to representing workers at each of the “Big Three” distributors — McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, which account for 85 percent of all prescription drug distribution in the U.S. — the union and its affiliated pension and benefit funds are long-term shareholders.

The numbers are staggering. According to news reports, the “Big Three” shipped 423 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone into West Virginia, a state of only 1.8 million people, over a six-year period. At the same time, more than 1,700 people in West Virginia fatally overdosed as the three companies reported a combined $17 billion in profits and their CEOs received more than $500 million in combined compensation. Part of the tragedy is that each company had been put on notice by the DEA over the past decade for failing to report suspicious orders as required by law. Together, McKesson and Cardinal Health paid more than $200 million to settle charges with the DEA over that period.

The companies’ practices of putting profits ahead of people has created both financial and reputational risk — sparking an investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, multiple lawsuits and an onslaught of negative press.

As long-term shareholders of McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, the Teamsters have called for independent board committees to investigate each company’s opioid sales practices and compliance programs, and report the findings to shareholders. Additionally, the union has urged independent board leadership and executive pay reform that incentivizes compliance and empowers boards to claw back compensation when corporate mismanagement creates significant financial or reputational harm.

It goes without saying that there is much at stake right now when it comes to the nation’s health care system. Congress is considering changes to the health care law, and some have issued support for a Senate bill they claim is a kinder alternative to a House bill passed in May. But that is certainly not the case when it comes to fighting opioid addiction, where almost 3 million people whose treatment is paid by Medicaid would be left to fend for themselves.

This, of course, doesn’t even address numerous other shortcomings of the legislation, such as the outrageous 40 percent excise tax it slaps on high-quality health care plans, as well as a massive tax cut it doles out to corporations and the rich at the expense of the poor.

It’s time to come together and protect the people. Getting serious about opioid abuse and stopping the Senate’s bad health care bill is how we do it.

PAME: We will not bleed for their profits in peace! We will not become flesh for their weapons in war!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

PAME: We will not bleed for their profits in peace! We will not become flesh for their weapons in war!
The following text is the introduction speech, on behalf of the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME), at the Balkan Anti-Imperialist Trade Union Meeting which was held on June 25th in Thessaloniki, Greece. 
Dear Colleagues,
on behalf of the PAME Executive Secretariat, we welcome you to our today’s meeting “With Workers From All Countries For A World Without Exploitation, Wars, Refugees“.
We particularly want to welcome colleagues from our neighboring countries who came under very difficult conditions, such as colleagues from Syria and Palestine. But also colleagues and organizations who wanted to be here with us today, but because of many obstacles they did not succeed. It is our great pleasure to welcome colleagues from 14 trade unions from 10 Countries of the region, here in the city of Thessaloniki.
A city of particular international importance for the class trade union movement of our country, as it was the city where the first major, internationalist, class-oriented trade union organization of our country, the legendary FEDERACION. An organization that had workers of all nationalities, Greeks, Turks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Israelis, etc., an organization that did not bend in hatred calls of the imperialists of the First World War, but held up the flag of the working class.
In this city yesterday, thousands of workers and hundreds of unions were demonstrating with PAME, a rally that clearly gave the message “Outside NATO-Stop Imperialism-Long Live the Friendship of the Peoples”. A demonstration that we believe is of great importance as it is a continuation, like our current meeting, in the Campaign Against Imperialism signed by hundreds of trade unions and trade unionists from Greece and abroad.
PAME took this initiative of joint co-ordination and stepping-forward against the imperialist war, the interventions, the various conflicts that unfold in our neighborhood and around the world. Within this campaign, PAME has taken a series of initiatives to inform and mobilize Greek workers, to support and strengthen friendship with the peoples of the region.
On May 1st, thousands of workers were gathered in Greece and other countries, such as the concentration of colleagues from Nakliyat Is in Turkey, where the resolution of the Trade Unions against the imperialist war was read and voted by strike gatherings. We had the pleasure of welcoming colleagues from Turkey at the 1st of May Demonstrations in Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Alexandroupolis and Komotini. The Ambassador of Palestine welcomed the PAME Meeting in Athens. While in previous events in Ioannina, Larissa, Thessaloniki, Patras, we expressed our Solidarity to the peoples fighting, to the peoples of Syria and Palestine. Also colleagues from the Birlesik Metal Is Trade union from Turkey were present in the Metal Trade Union Strike in Perama, Athens.
We want to thank particularly our colleagues from Turkey as Turkish fighters come under difficult conditions, overcoming obstacles and dangers to send the message together from both sides of the Aegean: We will not bleed for their profits in Peace! We will not become flesh for their weapons in the war! Peoples have nothing to divide, we have the same sufferings, the same needs. The enemy is one and the same, imperialism!
Also note that this initiative does not stop there. On 1 and 2 July 2-day-events will take place in Samos, Lesvos, Kos. PAME, the class-oriented movement of Greece will continue, will strengthen these actions.
Dear Comrades,
All Workers Militant Front took the initiative of this Anti-imperialist Campaign, implementing the decision of our 4th National Congress, that the working class must be alerted, prepared and fight both against the anti-working policies of the Capital and its Governments, and against the conflicts of the imperialists. In the center of their competitions are:
  • How to share the damages of the crisis and how they will benefit from the capitalist development, which all agree that is weak, with big problems.
  • Which monopolies will take the lead in the course of the competition
  • Who is going to take control of the markets, the energy sources of gas, oil and even water, the energy pipes and commercial transport routes.
That’s why this position does not arise from a pacifistic logic, a general anti-war mood, but comes from the experience of the world working movement summarized by Brecht in 5 simple words:
“Their war kills
Whatever their peace
Has left.”
For us, therefore, it is not a coincidence, but a characteristic of our movement, the class unions of Greece, that PAME was born in 1999 in the flames of the war in Yugoslavia. It is no coincidence that PAME’s action, from the very beginning, linked the struggle for the defense of wages and workers’ rights, with the struggle against imperialism, imperialist interventions and wars. Today, completing nearly two decades of unwavering class and anti-imperialist struggle, we feel justified because we have correctly predicted developments. We were rightly placed as a class movement against the plans of imperialism against the division of Yugoslavia and made every city and place of work, a place of resistance and struggle against the imperialist intervention. Correctly, here the forces of PAME in Thessaloniki then sent the NATO hubs to the downtown-markets, changing the signs. We correctly positioned and called for a General Strike against the US invasion of Iraq. We were right to inform the workers against the so-called “anti-terrorist” US-NATO-EU campaign after the attack to the Twin Towers. A campaign, almost twenty years later, that is the Trojan Horse of War and the intervention of the imperialists around the globe.
Today, therefore, on the one hand, we feel justified for this estimation, for our predictions, but at the same time we feel the responsibility we have as a class, struggling trade union movement to go forward. To anticipate developments, to prepare the working class, to inform it so that it can resolutely deal with the plans of its exploiters.
In all countries, governments, regardless of hue, sign, progressive, conservative, or even “left”, participate in imperialist competitions, interventions and wars, with one or another imperialist camp. Their main concern is to defend the interests of the ruling class of their own country, their business groups in the international chessboard. Their declarations of peace and security are rapidly increasing as far as their war budget is growing. As much as they swear to the contrary, the figures disprove them. Doubling of war expenditure for the US, five times for China in the coming years and 10times for the EU military research.
Workers in the world are witnessing the spread of warfare in more and more areas, especially in our neighborhood. The Balkan peoples pay for the consequences of border change, state dismemberment and the continued cultivation of nationalist hatred, US-NATO-EU-Russia boots in the region. In Eastern Europe, in Georgia, in Ukraine the war between NATO and Russia were expressed, while in Romania the massive NATO military exercise “Noble Jump” takes place, escalating tension.
NATO’s General Secretary said specifically a few days ago: “Since 2014, we have increased our forces since the Cold War. We have tripled the composition of the NATO Response Force to 40,000 men. We set up eight armies in Eastern Europe. In the Baltic States and Poland we have promoted 4 multinational Battle Formations. We are strengthening our presence in the Black Sea, with a multinational brigade based in Romania, enhanced naval and air presence, and the UK are sending additional patrol aircraft. At the same time, we are strengthening our capabilities in cybersecurity. “
While at the recent NATO Summit in Brussels, despite the oppositions of the interests of the imperialists, they decided:
  • Completion – by accelerating moves at all levels – of the implementation of the dangerous decisions of the 27th NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016, the reinforcement of NATO forces across the line from the Baltic to the Black Sea, combined with the installation of the “anti-missile shield” in the context of dangerous competition with Russia.
  • Strengthening the NATO engagement in the imperialist war in Syria by taking part in the coalition of states led by the US that bloodshed the people of Syria to meet their own strategic interests.
  • The demand for excessive NATO spending by reaching the 2% of GDP target for all member states.
  •  Military presence with NATO forces, the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • The continuation of the imperialist intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
They are decisions that smell gunpowder and blood for the peoples. Decisions that confirm the criminal nature of the imperialist organization.
At the same time, the EU is strengthening its militarization. It establishes a European Army, European Headquarters, emergency forces (the Eurocorps), and promotes the European Defense Union as well as the European Defense Fund.
NATO and the EU are transnational imperialist unions, of which the peoples can only wait for exploitation and poverty, war and refuge for the many and immense wealth for the very few and in our country it is our duty to strengthen our struggle against them.
At the same time in the Middle East, the people of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing the consequences of these imperialist interventions. The people of Syria’s martyrdom are in the swirl of multi-year imperialist intervention and antagonisms involving a series of imperialist powers. On the one hand, the US-EU-funded jihadists and the oil giants of the Gulf, the USA, and others that are willing to participate, including the Greek Government. At the same time, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and more distinctly China and other countries. As crows are waiting to feed on the flesh of the Syrian people.
We can see today that the outbreaks are spreading. The developments between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, where one accuses the other of supporting terrorism, countries dominated by the obscurantism and religious fanaticism of the emirs, who led the Jihadists’ support, the interventions in Syria and Yemen, the more general planning in the region, rearranging their alliances, demanding the control of their areas and their wealth.
At the same time, the working class at international level is experiencing the continuation of a brutal attack against its rights. For the profits of business groups, the European Union and governments of each country, legislate anti-labor measures. They cut wages or give rise to very small increases in relation to multinational inflation and profits. The internationalization of important, key services is being promoted internationally. Hospitals, schools, telecommunications, harbors, roads are all assigned to business groups, resulting in downgrading of services for the peoples and the high, prohibitive for the working class, cost. An important attack is the rights of workers to trade union action, the right to organize in trade unions and the right to strike.
We saw it, in France with the El Khomri law, in England with the negotiations for BREXIT where the people will be the victim, in Turkey, where especially after the coup attempt almost every labor claim is considered a “national danger”, in Italy with the notorious JOBS ACT, in the Balkan countries with the EU accession process, the attack on labor rights is escalating.
In Greece specifically the Government of the so-called “Left” SYRIZA, who co-establishes with a nationalist party, ANEL, has just legislated, in the past few days:
  • Freezing already reduced pensions by the end of 2022
  • Reversals to the Strike Law and trade unions that will signify newer obstacles to their actions
  • Reducing the tax-free limit so that even the poor, the impoverished must be taxed
 These measures follow up on his anti-labor measures 4th Memorandum imposed by SYRIZA in May, which includes new wage cuts, new barbaric taxation, collective lay-offs. At the same time that the SYRIZA government is crushing the Greek people at the same time Greece’s military  expenditure is 2,38% of GDP and is second only to those of US with 3.61% among all NATO members.
In the name of the geostrategic upgrading of the Greek bourgeoisie, the SYRIZA-ANEL co-operation fully adopts the NATO and EU war plans and improves its involvement. At the recent NATO summit this government committed to taking a more active role in planning. The barbarity of anti-people, anti-worker policy is the one aspect of a class policy that plutocrats, who gave birth to the crisis, implement for the growth of their profits, the expansion of their business interests, in order to gain in the race with their competitors. The other facet of the same policy is the geostrategic upgrading operation of the Greek bourgeoisie in the wider region that increasingly resembles the eye of the tornado.
At the same time that the government, for the benefit of the large capital, takes constant and wild measures against the working people, it celebrates the new installments the country is taking. At the same time that the country gets a blooded-up grant of € 8.5 billion based on wages-pensions-rights slaughter, it gives back literally to the massacres of the peoples every year 4 billion euros, which corresponds to Greece’s participation in NATO. These amounts go to NATO warfare, support upgrades and acquisitions of the Armed Forces in NATO-based figures and bodies. That is why the government received the congratulations of the USA President.
NATO is not a factor of stability and security! Wherever it goes, it carries death and destruction. It puts the peoples one against the other. It is the killing machine of the imperialists, it does not recognize borders and sovereign rights.
Consequently, the participation of the country in these imperialist organizations and alliances is anything but beneficial for our sovereign rights, the borders and the interests of the Greek people, who pay high price for this participation in the circumstances of a particular economic crisis.
NATO is currently expanding its army and fleet from the Baltic to the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, defending the interests of the predatory alliance, the interests of its own monopolies in the region against their competitors. In this routine, the NATO Armada trips to the Aegean, while FRONTEX has acquired powers at the land and sea borders of the country.
Greece participated and participates in imperialist aggressive projects. Greek troops were found and are found outside the country’s borders. Our country participates in 13 NATO missions abroad, either permanently in the Indian Ocean, the Horn of Africa and Suez, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mali, Lebanon and Libya.
Lately, more and more NATO troops are developing in Europe, doing exercises. The most recent is the 3rd Armored Brigade in Poland with hundreds of armored vehicles and 3,500 soldiers who have the eye in Russia. At the same time, the Americans call for additional facilities and access of their Armed Forces to Greek bases, looking forward to accessing Larissa, Aktio, Andravida, Skyros.
The NATO headquarters in Thessaloniki, where we held the big nationwide demonstration yesterday, is one of the NATO Force Structures. It is one of the National Land Forces and has multinational staffing, working through Memoranda of Cooperation. These are funded by the national budgets of the countries in which they are based. These headquarters are “High Standards, they have a role to play for participating in a Rapid Reaction Force, and beyond Thessaloniki, there are military headquarters in Milan, Valencia, Istanbul, Strasbourg, Lille, Munster, Raintalen.
The “NobleJump” NATO exercise, which is being held today, is another proof that the SYRIZA-ANEL government offers “land and water” to the murderers of the peoples, it provides NATO with ports, airports, highways and even camps in Evros to pass . It is prepared to take on more active roles in imperialist plans to secure a share of capital from interventions and wars. In addition to the above mentioned exercise, at the same time, the NATO ships, the ships of death, sail freely in the Aegean and our harbors. After “USS Mesa Verde” and “USNS Trenton”, a catamaran type and designed to support, among other things, Special Forces operations, it anchored in Neo Ikonio. The intense mobility in the port has already triggered mobilizations in Piraeus by mass organizations and trade unions.
In addition to troop activity, a number of conferences are taking place, such as the 8th Annual NATO Maritime Prevention Training Center Conference held in Souda last week, or the 70th anniversary of the Defense Cooperation Office that governments advance in Greece and the USΑ, the tripartite summit in Thessaloniki, Greece-Cyprus-Israel.
At the opposite of this activity, PAME, the class trade union movement, openly supports the reactions of Greek soldiers serving their military service. With constant letters, soldiers from several camps in the country oppose plans, NATO exercises, they are thundering that they will not become meat for imperialist cannons, they will not be assisting personnel in NATO troops.
We are addressing workers, the unemployed, the poor farmers and the self-employed across the country, not tο appease them, as the government and the other parties do, but to discuss with them about these dangerous developments in our region that “smell gunpowder”.
We are addressing them in order to discuss what our answer should be, i.e. the response of the working class of the people from the point of view of our own interests. Let us discuss what supposed necessity puts us in NATO, in these plans, the obligations arising from our participation in these alliances, i.e. what are the interests of our people for our troops to be involved across the earth. What borders do the military, naval and air forces involved in these missions defend?
What is the need for Greek coverage in the US imperialist attack on Syria? What is NATO’s role in the Aegean? What makes it beneficial to us? Is it a factor of stability?
The presence of EU-NATO in the Aegean is encouraging Turkey’s provocation, with continuous violations of the sovereign rights of Greece, as well as of the Cyprus EEZ. In these NATO’s specific forces in the Aegean, also participate  Turkish forces, ships, planes that fly and sail with the NATO’s flag and permission over the Aegean islands. It is practically applied the NATO’s fixed guideline, which does not recognize national borders in the Aegean, but it considers it as a single operational area. It is this exact line that encourages the demands of the bourgeoisie of Turkey. This is one of the reasons why the violations and the Turkish provocations have multiplied since NATO came to the Aegean and we are counting violations every day.
The nationalism is growing in Albania, in the Balkans altogether, a wanted UCK former governor is running for Kosovo’s prime minister, racist murderous criminal organizations are being supported and funded, like the Golden Dawn in Greece. Issues of minorities and borders are again being raised. The imperialists are re-dividing the earth.
In the wider region of the Balkans, pipelines are being promoted, resources are being exploited in the name of the EU’s goal of gaining energy self-sufficiency and be independent from the Russia’s natural gas supply. As Turkey questions the half of the Aegean, as Albania’s provocations about the Great Albania and Tsamouria are continuing, the TAP pipeline is being built in a friendly co-operation between Greece, Turkey and Albania. The businesses about the energy that are being built across the Eastern Mediterranean are escalating the competition for which business group will prevail over its competitors, they intensify the controversy among capitalist states about who owns the rights of expoitation, in which designated EEZs, who will have the control of critical energy passages. And that’s the cause of the ongoing competitions in Balkan countries such as FYROM, Serbia, Kosovo, etc. with inter-bourgeois contradictions in each country and with the involvement of forces such as the USA, Russia and the EU. Contradictions that are also associated with border changes, taking advantage of the poison of nationalism.
In any case, the peoples of the region will be harmed, entering into great adventures. For the peoples the issue of energy, the new pipelines and deposits are false hopes, because while the pipes around these peoples are rapidly appearing, the people are still paying heavily the electricity, the oil, in total, the energy.
Consequently, our participation in these imperialist organizations is far from beneficial for our sovereign rights, the borders and the interests of the Greek people, who, in the period of the economic crisis, pay a heavy cost for this participation. The Greek people, like the peoples of the neighbouring countries, have to demand the disengagement of Greece from the imperialist interventions and adventurisms, the closure of the NATO bases, such as of Souda, which the Greek government is upgrading and is also expanding the infrastructures (in Larissa, Aktio, Andravida), the return of Greek troops from missions abroad, disengagement from the looting of the capital in the wider region. To throw off together the poison of nationalism and racism that infects the workers and the youth.
As the joint declaration of the Trade Unions and the Unionists against the imperialist war:
“The all-out attack that condemns the working class in every country in unemployment, poverty, misery is the one side of the class policy.
The other side is the unjust, imperialist war that they wage in the interests of the big business groups.
Faced with the possibility of a generalized warfare in our region, we are now building a wall of protection for the working class of our countries, our peoples, in joint action and solidarity with each other and with our trade unions at the forefront of this struggle. “
Through the mobilization of thousands of workers from Greece yesterday, through today’s meeting of trade unionists from 10 countries, PAME continues its efforts in this direction.
We consider it our task, we consider a first-line issue for the trade unions of each country, on the one hand, to strengthen the struggle for workers’ rights, and on the other hand, to increase the vigilance of the working class against nationalism, xenophobia, racism and fascism. Against the hate incitements that our exploiters cultivate to keep us divided and to exploit us.
That is why we consider it very important that the 17th Conference of the International Congress of the WFTU, which was held successfully in Durban, South Africa, about a year ago, has set the tone for the decisions that the world working movement must be vigilant about imperialism. To strengthen its struggle against the NATO and the imperialist organizations.
At the same time we should be concerned as trade unions, about the role of the ITUC, which not only supports the US-NATO imperialist interventions, but also plays an active role in order to be supported by the workers of each country, as in the case of Libya, and as it is doing today, for example, in Syria.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary for the working movement of each country to prepare the workers so that they do not support foreign flags which are against their interests. As during the “imperialist peace” the workers should not accept to cut their salary for the profitability of their bosses, so in wartime they should not accept “to kill the peoples to feed the boss”.
We have a duty to strengthen the struggle against nationalism, xenophobia, imperialist plans within the working class of each country. Strengthen the solidarity with other peoples, the solidarity with refugees and immigrants, the exclusion of the fascists. These problems cannot be left outside the trade unions because the workers have no interest in bleeding for the bosses. We shall not let our countries become a huge base for the imperialist massacres, and our children, the soldiers used for their cannons.
In this direction, it is necessary for the trade unions, that along with the struggle for salary, social security, free healthcare and education, they integrate the struggle against the imperialist plans.
They must strengthen their struggle against imperialist organizations, NATO and the EU to strengthen their struggles against the anti-workers governments in each country, against business groups.
We have nothing to divide among the working class of other countries, with other peoples. On the contrary, the common interest of struggle for a life without wealth and poverty, without bosses, unites us- that is the life that we own. Our struggle will be effective as long as it links the defence of the borders and sovereign rights, the struggle for the peoples to live peacefully, with the struggle to overthrow the barbarous exploitative system that has been proven to cause and nourish poverty, unemployment, wars and refugees.
That’s why we fight for:
  • • No involvement in the imperialist interventions and wars outside the borders. No involvement in NATO and EU slaughterhouses.
  • • Closure of all foreign military bases. NATO out of the Aegean and the Balkans.
  • • No involvement in the political- military alliance of the capitalists.
  • • Struggle against the change of borders.
  • • Struggle against the abolition of trade union rights and other freedoms.
  • • We say no to the war expenditure for military action outside the borders, we demand funding to satisfy the needs of the working class, of workers’ family.
  • • Struggle against nationalism, racism, chauvinism
  • • Solidarity with the refugees, the immigrants, solidarity to all peoples.
  • We do not stand behind the foreign and hostile to us flag of the capitalists and their allies. We raise the flag of the interests of the working class.
We are fighting against the unjust wars, to eliminate what causes them.
Solidarity is the weapon of peoples.
Tsipras’ government dismisses 10,000 workers, promotes privatization in garbage collection

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tsipras’ government dismisses 10,000 workers, promotes privatization in garbage collection
Sanitary workers protesting near the Acropolis
in Athens.

Why there are tones of garbage in the streets of Athens and other Greek major cities these days? The answer is because the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government- within the framework of its anti-people, anti-workers policy and following the demands of the EU strategy- moves towards the dismissal of 10,000 sanitary workers, while it promotes the privatization of the garbage collection sector in municipalities. 

Greece’s local authority staff union federation POE-OTA launched a protest last week, after a court ruled against the new extension to late 2017 of the short- term contracts of more than 10,000 people working in trash collection in municipalities throughout Greece.
POE-OTA responded with work stoppages, strikes, and sit-in protests at landfills, rightfully demanding permanent employment of workers to replace the fixed-term contracts, which put workers in risk of being fired in a country suffering chronic unemployment of about 25% of the working force.
In a communication trick, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis submitted to the parliament on Monday a proposal for hiring 2,500 permanent municipal sanitation workers. The proposal was immediately rejected by POE-OTA as insufficient. The government’s mockery towards the sanitary workers is more than clear: It proposes the hiring of 2,500 municipal sanitation workers, while it prepares the dismissal of more than 6,500 of them! 
“Given that sanitation services are a daily operation in urban centers, we request permanent personnel earning salaries allowing them to make a living with dignity. There is no need for short-term workers which are recycled by governments and mayors under the formula ‘You leave, you are hired’. As a result, each time people are offered fewer workers’ rights and smaller wages,” Christos Panagiotopoulos, a protesting worker was quoted by the Chinese news network Xinhua on Monday.
In this anti-workers strategy, the SYRIZA-ANEL government is actually supported by the opposition party of New Democracy and all the bourgeois political forces, including many of the municipal authorities. In Thessaloniki, mayor Yannis Boutaris– known for his animosity towards the labor movement- unleashed a fierce attack against the striking workers and threatened them by signing an emergency tender awaiting a relevant short-term contract to the private sector. Such a move by Boutaris would cost to the city’s taxpayers approximately 192,000 euros for three days! The All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) slammed the anti-worker delirium of mayor Boutaris thus accusing him of promoting the governmental strategy and the interests of private contractors.

“Fraud- hostage- dismissal- unemployment… This is the course of the government’s policy in the case of the municipal sanitation workers, the policy followed by the SYRIZA-ANEL government during the last 2.5 years” writes the Sunday edition of “Rizospastis” on 25th June. 

“In particular, the sector of sanitation and waste management consists a very promising “investment” sector for monopoly groups” points out the article of “Rizospastis” and continues: “Many are those who are lurking to strench their hands, since in this case “garbage is treasure”. What nowadays appears to be a “gordian knot” in the labor relation of the contract workers, consists a first-class opportunity to promote privatization projects. It is also no coincidence that many media, according to their favorite method, rushed to zoom at the “piles of garbage” in Athens, in order to connect the issue with the tourist season and pass the “message” about the need for privatization. After all, specific mayors are already moving towards this direction openly”.

KKE: “The people must support the struggle of the sanitation workers – The waste collection and management is state’s responsibility.”

In a statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) expressed its support to the struggle of the workers and denounced the policy of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, as well as the role of New Democracy and part of the mayors who promote the privatization plans. The KKE states that the waste collection and management is state’s responsibility and must be financed from the government’s budget. “Today”, the KKE statement points out, “the SYRIZA-ANEL government dismisses thousands of contract workers, hiding behild the constitution’s provisions. Instead of ensuring the right to stable and permanent labor of all these workers, (the government) is mocking them, promising supposed solutions which perpetuate labor insecurity and lead to dismissals”.

Full support to the struggle of the sanitation workers was expressed by the five communist mayors – of the cities of Patras, Chaidari, Petroupolis, Kesariani and Ikaria – who denounced the governmental mockery. The five mayors asked from the government to transform the temporary contracts of the municipal sanitation workers into permanent ones.  

And a 24-hour strike and a new rally in Athens was called for Thursday.

Abolish Child Labour!
| June 24, 2017 | 7:43 pm | Canada, Child Labour, Labor, socialism, WFTU | No comments

Abolish Child Labour!

Abolish Child Labour!

June 12th marked the annual World Day Against Child Labour, a phenomenon which most people in Canada usually regard as a rare and anachronistic situation. The reality is that millions of children and youth around the world remain trapped in capitalist chains, performing backbreaking and dangerous jobs for the private profit of their bosses.

Socialists have always fought against every form of exploitation, either “disguised” in the form of legal wage labour, or clearly barbarian. Child labour is in the second category, existing since the very beginning of the inhuman capitalist system. As the World Federation of Trade Unions points out, “the fortunes of bourgeois were created by the hands and blood of children.”

Today, an estimated 168 million children work in various jobs around the world. In the Asia-Pacific region, for example, about 9.3% of the child population is forced to work. Since the outbreak of the latest capitalist crisis a decade ago, and the deepening of intra-imperialist rivalries, the exploitation of children is intensifying, always with a view to maximizing the profits of multinationals. Child workers are mainly employed in the sectors of agriculture, fishing and mining, while other children work even as modern-day slaves. Immigrant children often suffer double exploitation, even in Europe and North America, regions that boasted about having eliminated this scourge. Despite declarations by the United Nations and the ILO, millions of children suffer irreparable psychological, intellectual, social or moral injuries, and often sexual exploitation as well.

The WFTU has raised important demands on this occasion, including public, free and compulsory education for the new generation, and full access to leisure, recreation and health care for children and youth. Child labour must be abolished, along with laws which allow children or their parents to “consent” to such work.