Members of the Greek public sector unions, POE-OTA, staged a bike protest on the Ministry of Labour in Thessaloniki. They are protesting the 13 billion Euro austerity measures.   Workers of OTA will not become an “equivalent” – By Thomas Bizas, Me …

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Members of the Greek public sector unions, POE-OTA, staged a bike protest on the Ministry of Labour in Thessaloniki. They are protesting the 13 billion Euro austerity measures.

 

Workers of OTA will not become an “equivalent”

– By Thomas Bizas, Member of the Panhellenic Federation of Workers in Local Government Organisations (POE-OTA) Executive Committee.

Workers in local government agencies (OTA) now know that if the government succeeds in passing the 11.5 billion austerity measures, they will be the first victims of the most relentless attack the Greek working class has suffered in recent years.

Closures and mergers of hundreds of agencies and public institutions in connection with what is called “reduction in compensation” and “streamlining of the payroll” shall mean the direct loss of several thousand jobs in local government agencies.

Our pensions will become aids to a standard of living equivalent to that of the 1960.

The reductions in spending on public health will be so large that they will cancel all public health care for employees and retirees.

Privatisation in the social structures of local authorities’ nurseries, home help, elderly day centres etc. will actually remove the social role of local government while waste management will be given as a prize to the winners of the class war.

Workers in the cleaning services will become redundant while private contractors and “investors”, who will become the new bosses, will speculate brazenly.

Some mayors are ready and willing to sell off. They have already agreed to be self-abolished as Local Authorities and be converted into fee collectors that will be paid to private interests.

In this merciless war the OTA workers will not fall without a fight. We will not run away, nor will we accept the loss of thousands of jobs and entire social services because so decided the troika and the government.

Employees of local government authorities will retort and their response will be hard.

The municipal offices and facilities such as landfills and municipal garages will become castles of resistance.

We will fight for the unity and the victory of our movement in this difficult battle.

All workers from all areas of public and private sector must take the case to strike in their own hands.

We will not become an equivalent*.

If they dare to attempt it, they should know that this will be their last venture.

*The term “equivalent” here is ironic/sarcastic and refers to the government’s supposed struggle to negotiate with the troika the austerity measures, proposing “equivalent” policies and measures that supposedly are not horizontal and absolutely destructive for the economy and the social fabric. The irony/sarcasm lies on the government’s failure to negotiate as well as on its acceptance of measures that hit workers and pensioners again leaving the rich untaxed. The government’s “equivalents” have quickly proven to be an empty word and a joke.


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