Update on the Nea Michaniona fishworkers strike.
Posted by clandestina on 19 January 2010
The case of the employers against the strike of the fishworkers was brought anew to court yesterday.
The fishworkers are now on strike under a decision of their own Union. The bosses want the court to decide an injunction against the strike, which means that for each day of the strike the Union and the fishworkers should compensate the owners for the damages.
The arguments of the employers were:
a) notification of the strike was not sent to the pertinent body; they now said that the employers’ body to which the strike was officialy made known to (the Greek Shipowners Union for Middle Fisheries – ΠΕΠΜΑ – is a nationwide body of owners who only deals with … European policies! The exact reverse of what they had claimed on the first trial, namely that this body – ΠΕΠΜΑ – was the one that the fishworkers should sent the notice for the strike to and not to the local Union of ship owners, as the strikers had done when they first declared a strike. The bosses twist things the way it suits them of course.
b) Some of the strike’s requests, for instance the insurance fund under which they have to be covered for labor accidents and illnesses, is not the business of the ship-owners but of the pertinent government Ministry (of course it had been the ship owners who had lobbied at the Ministry and succeeded in making the unfavourable for the workers insurance fund tranfer).
c) Above all, the bosses claimed, it is the Union of Nea Mihaniona Fishworkers the one legally assigned to be present at the fish auctions, weight the catches and calculate the workers’ share; they also claimed that the Egyptians were never obstructed from exerting partly control to the processes. This shows the central role of that yellow union for the ship owners. What the ship owners try to avoid at any cost is to recognize the collective, autonomous body of the Egyptian workers, and thus lose control, while on n the other hand, the key demand of the Egyptians is just that, that through their Union they have control of the weighting processes and the calculation of shares, since they the yellow union is of course not to be trusted.
The strike does harm the ship-owners a lot: they lose millions.
The Egyptians are determined to continue. The bosses, on the other hand, are probably ready to replace them with the help of the Egyptian embassy. The most important battle will be done if scabs come, from Egypt or elsewhere. In that case, there will be blood, since the Egyptians are really steadfast to their struggle.
Whether we like it or not ΠΑΜΕ / the Communist Party is the only one with the power, the networks and the mechanism to support the battle in Mihaniona . Those of us who want to support the struggle and we are outside ΠΑΜΕ / the Communist Party we have to go and really see what we can do: see what small and practical things we can do, such as make the strike known in Thessaloniki, collect money etc.
The court decision about the strike is to be issued tomorrow; the strike continues, tomorrow there is the info event at Thessaloniki Polytechnic.