Solidarity protest in London condemns ‘quasi-military action’ being taken against striking Greek steelworkers


THE strike goes on, the Greek steelworkers will not be defeated” – this was the message from the front line in Athens, after trade unionists in Britain condemned the Greek government’s attempts to break up the 9-month strike with a protest outside the Greek Embassy in London, yesterday.

Greek riot police attacked picket lines last Friday in a bid to break up the long running dispute over pay cuts and job losses. 

The steelworkers strike has become a focal point for anti EU and anti- capitalist sentiment.

But the message from Greek activists who are in direct contact with the Steel workers from the PAME (All Workers Militant Front) is that the strike continues and the factory remains closed directly contradicting police and mass media reports.

British spokeswoman for the KKE (Greek Communist Party) Lena Geropanagioti told UnionNews: “The situation is getting worse. They [riot police] attacked them once more today. It is very important to say that because the mass media do not produce the truth, that the strike still goes on.

“The factory is not working because no steelworker intends to go back.”

She said that the call centre had been staffed by managers but insisted the main strike had been unaffected by the police action.

Urging maximum solidarity from workers everywhere she added: “It is important that the solidarity shown to the Steelworkers continues and is intensified.”

“It gives a message to workers they are not alone.”

“Their strike is about the working class and not just themselves.”

RMT president Alex Gordon expressed the union’s full support for the steelworkers.

“We are responding to the call from our comrades in PAME – the all workers Militant Front to support the steelworkers strike and we have delivered a letter to the Greek ambassador denouncing the quasi-military action taken against workers trying defend their living standards,” he told UnionNews.

Pointing to other action across Europe against austerity, Mr Gordon added: “Europe is teetering on the brink of major civil unrest that we have not seen for decades.”

“Greek workers are not alone. They are fighting the same battle in Spain and Portugal.”

In Greece, Nikolaos Harakopoulos, deputy leader of the steel workers’ union, accused the government of undermining talks also involving his union and employers to try and resolve the dispute.

“As long as they try to deceive us, the more stubborn steel workers become,” Mr Harakopoulos told the Associated Press yesterday. 

“We have made very flexible proposals to rehire workers who were laid off. But, instead, they brought the riot police … If they use bullying tactics and violence, we will stay to the end — as many as we can — to continue the struggle.”

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