What happened earlier today during the third trial of the fishworkers’ strike.
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 “!