“Our struggle is a struggle for dignity” – update on the fishworkers’s strike
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