An effective response to strikebreaking
Michaniona vessel bosses attempted yesterday, March 28, to transfer 12 Egyptian fishworkers from Keratsini, Athens, to Thessaloniki, on a bus. After dealing with the confusion of contradictory information, the fishworkers at Michaniona made this known and the mobilization that followed prevented the bosses’ plan from materializing.
Since early people had started gathering at the Thessaloniki bus station, train station and at other terminal stations so that to obstruct scabs’ arrival. Members of the PAME, the Solidarity Assembly and other groups were checking and controling those spots in parallel with the strikers who kept arriving from Michaniona. Late at night, the bulk of people gathered at the central bus station, which was thought as the most probable spot the scabs to arrive at; both other spots were kept constantly under control, though.
At 2 a.m. the bus arrived and the “dialogue” between the strikers and the would-be scabs concluded with the latter going to a place of reception for some time under the surveillance of strikers and stay there until they got the first bus back to Athens. The excuse they used was that they were not aware they would work for the Michaniona bosses and thought they would work for other employers in Northern Greece.
The 4 trawler bosses who would accompany them, after having been informed about what they were to meet at the bus station, deserted the van which would drive the fishworkers to Michaniona. The driver who would drive that van also left a little bit too hasty and crushed his car some meters along the road.
Generally speaking, and despite the vague and contradictory information, the people mobilized were many, they responded fast and effectively and stayed until late at night. On the other hand, if this is the best the bosses can do in terms of organisation, then things might not be that easy for them.
Of course, since the state’s service for labour employment (ΟΑΕΔ) and the Ministry of Employment have clearly taken the bosses’ side and has deemed the hiring of scabs legal (despite the fact that the strike is for now legal on a court’s decision), the trawlers bosses have already started hiring Bulgarian fishworkers in an effort to pave the road for strikebreaking. The Egyptian Fishworkers’ Union has already taken legal action against this but the injunction will not be brought to court earlier than April 16.
The way the strikers will deal with the actions of the bosses and their state allies will mean a lot for the future of the strike.
Posts Tagged ‘fishworkers’
Posted by clandestina on 29 March 2010
Posted in Action & Struggle Reports, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Short Reports | Tagged: labour conditions, Thessaloniki, solidarity, strikes, Nea Michaniona, Egyptian immigrants, fishworkers, ΟΑΕΔ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 25 March 2010
Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Events, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases | Tagged: Egyptian immigrants, fishworkers, Nea Michaniona, solidarity, strikes, Thessaloniki | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 4 February 2010
Yesterday Wednesday Feb 3, the Egyptian fishworkers’s strike was brought for the fourth time to court. The trial’s outcome for the first time was positive. The court decided for the first time that the strike is not “illegal and abusive”.
Unsurprisingly this was the first time the court examined the case’s essence, unlike the three previous courts when the strike was declared “illegal and abusive” on various technical legalistic “irregularities” (for example on the pretext of notification of the strike to the “wrong recipient” or “at a wrong time”, etc.).
In this trial as well, two witnesses were examined, one from the shipowners side, the chairman of the cooperative of the ship owners D. Ntaoultzis, and a witness for the defence of fishworkers, the Secretary of the Trade Union Center of Thessaloniki, Zarianopoulos.
At the beginning of the process in front of dozens of fishworkers, people in solidarity and ship owners , the judge asked police officers to come forward and stay in front of the judges.
The issues addressed included the non delivery of necessary documents by the ship owners to the workers for the latter to be able to renew their residence permits, which is a very urgent thing. Fishworkers defence also referred to the fishworkers uninsured status in case of work accidents and the assignment of the [yellow] workers union – which does not include the mass of Egyptians – with the calculation of shares.
The ship owners representative admitted indirectly that he had taken action to have scabs sent to Michaniona (in cooperation with the labour representative of the Egyptian embassy). The issue of the document proposed by the ship owners as a settlement of demands [see previous posts/updates] targetting active strikers and prohibiting political or syndicalist activity to Egyptians was also discussed. The ship owners representative argued that the process of calculating the shares is accessible and transparent to the fishworkers, who refuted this by saying that at the crucial time of the calculation they are still on board. He also said that he does not think it is necessary that Egyptians are represented at the process and that “it would be good if Greeks had those jobs to combat unemployment”- prejudice towards foreign workers was obvious at all times. The ship owners lawyer warned the strikers that they “should be careful, because things will be wild from now on!”. He also said that the strikers are misguided by CP / PAME trade union, which supports them to gain their votes in view of the granting of voting rights to immigrants with the new immigration bill.
The strikers said after the trial’s first day “our struggle is a struggle for dignity”. Dignity will be the criterion of their decisions for further action.
Despite the good news with the court’s decisions, the strikers are in a very difficult situation in terms of money. Today there is a meeting of the Solidarity Assembly at the Thessaloniki Antiracist Initiative’s place [ermou & venizelou str.] for practical solidarity coordination.
– > previous update
Posted in Action & Struggle Reports, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Events, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Short Reports | Tagged: labour conditions, Thessaloniki, solidarity, strikes, Nea Michaniona, Egyptian immigrants, Northern Greece, fishworkers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 26 January 2010
most recent update in this post
What happened today in the third trial of the fishworkers strike (the strike was brought anew to court).
The judge of the Thessaloniki Court gave the fishworkers’ lawyers a deadline to produce by 12 tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan 2010)
noon the necessary documents proving their claims against the trawlers bosses.These documents, according to the legal defence of the fishworkers, prove a series of abuses committed by the trawlers owners, including:
- The illegal practice of inviting other fishworkers, essentially to work as scabs,
- The deception of some Egyptians who were misled to sign a labour agreement in Arabic and in Greek language, which was very different from the original English version [the valid one should disputed occur] which contained onerous labor terms*.
- The fact that “employers unilaterally delegated to “representatives” of a “union of Michaniona fishworkers” (a union which excludes the overwhelming majority of Egyptian) to calculate the “share”, with no control whatsoever exerted by the workers themselves; thus, the trawlers bosses were in position of paying the fishworkers as little as they wished ” testified today on court by the defence witness Secretary of Thessaloniki Trade Unions Sotiris Zarianopoulos.
- The fact that the trawlers owners refused to provide the fishworkers with copies of their individual employment contracts, which are necessary for them in order to renew their residence permits, with a view to have them deported and replace them with other, cheaper fishworkers.
For these allegations, a witness for the prosecution said that the she either did not know of those facts or denied them, rousing a storm of protests by tens of strikers who were present in the court room and watched the process. Amid strong protests over allegations and arguments of the trawlers owners’ lawyer (who argued inter alia that “foreign workers shouldn’t be allowed to come here and establish unions at will …”), the procedure was halted until tomorrow for the strikers’ lawyer to produce the required documents.
The trial was attended by the CP MP Sophia Kalantidou (who had submitted interpellations to the parliament on the issue), the Secretary of Thessaloniki Trade Unions Center Sotiris Zarianopoulos (PAME), the Deputy Secretary of the Thessaloniki Trade Unions Center , Despina Charalambides (Aftonomi Paremvasi –Radical Left Coalition), the President of the Thessaloniki Builders Union Vassilis Revas (PAME) (last Monday a press conference by the fishworkers and S. Zarianopoulos took place at the offices of the Trade Union of Thessaloniki) and several leftist and independent supporters of the struggle including the Soliodarity Assembly with the Fishworkers’ Strike.
In a gesture of support to the strikers who have found themselves in the recent months in a deplorable financial situation, student unions, anti-racist, anti-capitalist and leftist organizations and the Solidarity Assembly called for today Tuesday at 6 pm a solidarity rally. On Friday Jan 29 the Assembly organizes a Concert at 9 pm at the University “to support the Egyptian fishworkers in Mihaniona”. [SEE RIGHT SIDEBAR ON THIS BLOG]
* The unacceptable “lost in translation” Greek text of ’agreement’ which misled five (of a total 130) of Michaniona Egyptian fishworkers included the following condition in paragraph 6: “The Egyptian fishworkers should not be involved in any Greek political party or body related to labour obligations and rights “!
Posted in Action & Struggle Reports, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Events, Short Reports | Tagged: labour conditions, Thessaloniki, solidarity, strikes, Nea Michaniona, Egyptian immigrants, Northern Greece, fishworkers | 1 Comment »