Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Bangladeshi immigrants’

Mass hunger strike at Athens Airport since Sunday

Posted by clandestina on 1 October 2009

source in Greek:

About 150 immigrants detained at the airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” began a mass hunger strike on Sunday.  The immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India had been living and working  for years in Greece.  When they went for a visit at their country, they received the necessary documents from the pertinent municipalities, which would allow them to return.  Upon return, though, the authorities did not allow them to leave the area of the airport, claiming that their documents had been forged.

At the beginning of the hungerstrike, some already had been held for one month, awaiting the decision to deport them.   In addition to their claims for release, the migrants ask for improved detention conditions;  one of the prisoners reported to tvxs, «we are offered food once a day, we have no access to shower facility, but most importantly we can not drink the water because it comes from the single  toilet used by all prisoners’

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Murder at workplaces – Greek and migrant workers have their share of death – July & August 2009

Posted by clandestina on 1 September 2009

We translate here roughly the list of data compiled by comrades at  As the comrades write:

“[…] the reason for compiling the list is not to provoke “pity” for the deaths.  At workplaces there is an undeclared war raging , with victims on the part of workers.  With some rough calculations, every three days an employee dies. The list is by no means comprehensive. We know that information is made publicly available only for a few of the “accidents” really happening.  But we ourselves have no doubt about what is really the case: the State and the bosses kill!”

July 2: Accident in the construction site of the Larissa-Trikala National Road; a 26 year old from Larissa, was electrocuted while instaling lighting poles – forunately, he survived.

July 3: A twenty-something guy from Pakistan, working in the chain of pizzerias “Bellisimo” had a serious accident while on delivery route, and he was hospitalized for 5 days in Intensive Care Unit of the hospital «Saint Savas»; he is still hospitalized at the State Hospital in Nikaia. The incident became known last Saturday after complaints of workers in the Tourism – Food Union of Piraeus. If there hadn’t been for the complaint, the accident would not have ever been recorded. It was confirmed that the 20 year old worked there for about a year uninsured, over 10 hours daily, like the rest of his colleagues! Remember that last year on June 24, the 19 year old Rechman Mahmoud from Pakistan, an uninsured delivery employee of the Belissimo pizzeria in Kolonos, Athens, was hit by a car at the time of work and after ten days in a comatose condiution he died.

July 7: The 45 year old Schygulla Mustaffa died a tragic death while working in the tunnel of the Train Organisation of Greece, near Aghios Stephanos, Domokos, Central Greece. The site was operated by the construction company «AKTOR».

July 14, a 61 year old man was fatally wounded at the dock of ship the ship repair company «NEORION SA» – a group of companies based in Piraeus, 67, Akti Miaouli – and Syros.

July 22: A severe accident, with one dead and twenty people injured, occurred shortly after 16:00 in KOUKOUTARIS A. «ALFA» SA, frozen dough products industry, which employs 165 workers and has branches in Athens, Thessaloniki and Ioannina. The accident was caused by a leakage of gas in the building after some complication in a tank used to cool the refrigerators. A 35-year old woman succumbed to injuries in the hospital of Kozani. Apart from the unfortunate woman, five other employees with severe burns have been tranferred to the same hospital; more workers at the same shift suffer lung problems.

-Another man in the long list of murders: During trench excavation works, a 50 year old worker of the Municipal Enterprise for Water Supply and Sewerage of Katerini, Central Macedonia Region, was crushed by soil. He was at a depth of approximately 1.70 meters when the pit wall collapsed.

An “accident” occurred in the quarries of Lamia, Central Greece, operated by the company «UNITED QUARRIES SA» (3, Truman str., Lamia) and it resulted in the amputation of a the 55 year old Nicholas Hrysos, who lost fingers from both hands. The «accident» took place during the placement of of some explosive device.

July 23: A fatal «accident» occured at the roadworks in the Louros area of Preveza. The victim was Vassilis Panagiotou, a 23 year old from Filiates. The unlucky worker was tragically killed by electrocution, when, while lifting iron pillars from a crane vehicle, he touched a power line of PPC.

July 25: Ntanout Noumitratsi (Danut Dumitrachi, a 39 year old working at Mantoudi, Evoia, died a tragic death – he was crushed by volumes of scrap metal. The unlucky laborer was working for the company «Terna» (Mesogion 85, Athens. According to information, the safety standerds were far from met.

July 27: a bus driver, during a journey to Moudania, Halkidiki, lost control of the vehicle which ended in a field with olive trees. The passengers were unharmed but the driver was transported to the Health Center of Moudania where it was found he had suffered from a heart attack, which caused his death.

July 28: The 50 year old builder George Michalas, who works for the subcontracting company «Athanasopoulos – Bakalaros» was buried alive. The particular project at the shore of a river is undertaken by the Mechaniki company. What is indicative of the working conditions leading to such accidents is the fact that the 50 year old worker had working since the morning at the site and he was injured at 7 pm! At some point the ground collapsed and the soil fell on the man, since the protective iron used in these cases was absent as well. The 50 year old worker was rescued by his colleagues.

July 28: A 54 year old migrant worker in the works of the Electric Power Compani Substation in Leondari, Thessaly, was rescued the last instance, after he had been trapped between a moving crane and a wall. His name is Romelion Voulmpes, of Romanian citizenship and he is working for the company «POSEIDON SA», which has undertaken the construction of the substation.

July 31: Another crime, the victim of which was the the 46 year old immigrant from Bangladesh Gulaf Miah happened in Aspropyrgos, at the company «General Recycling – Real Estate Hotel SA – «Γενική Ανακυκλώσεως Κτηματική Ξενοδοχειακή ΑΕ»”. The immigrant was «buried» and compressed under tonnes of recyclable material (paper) for about two days! The last time someone saw Miah alive was a foreman of the company at 10.30 Friday morning. Nobody looked for the immigrant until the family made a statement of disappearance the next day, on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Police Department Aspropyrgos! The Association of Private Employees and Anonymous Companies Offices launched on 4 / 8 a 24-hour work stoppage.

August 2: A 36 year old worker in the factory of LARCO, Larymna, was burnt to death and three of his colleagues were slightly injured in a blast furnace accident at the plant. The three wounded were taken to hospital in Lamia. The fatal accident happened when under so far unspecified conditions, the ore, which at that time had a temperature of more than 3,000 C, leaked.

August 3: A propane leak occurred yesterday afternoon during a transfusion from a tanker facilities of a private company, which was at in the Second MOT of Thessaloniki. The driver of the tank, in an effort to stop the leak, was injured by liquefied propane.

August 3: An electrocution accident which resulted in the serious injury of the worker Giorgos Bouritas occurred during works to expand the medium voltage substation of High Voltage in Larimna, Boeotia.

August 4, 2009: A 67 year old night watchman at New Anchialos, Volos, working in the Agricultural Cooperative «Demeter», died while trying to close the iron gate of the entrance of the factory, which crushed and fell on him. The wounded man was taken to the General Hospital of Volos. He died there a few hours later.

August 5: The 30-year old Vassilis Katsikis found a horrible death in the worksite of Grammatiko, Attica, when the lorry he was a co-driver on crushed and hot tar toppled on him. This death sheds light on the horrible circumstances under which drivers work, since the trucks carrying the tar are old and do not meet any safty standards. The company he worked for is «Ashpaltiki Attica SA».

August 6: A 39 year old worker from Albania, Louska Zekir, was killed while working on projects in the Eleusis – Tsakona road. When a crane lifted scrap of approximately one ton the strap was cut. The worker was working for the company «SELKOS». The site belongs to the subcontractor company Straktor of the Moreas consortium, that manufactures the highway from Tripoli to Kalamata.

August 18: A 50 year old worker was Hospital hospitalized after suffering injuries when his truck collided with a second truck in the mines of the Electrical Company, at Kommanos, Kozani, Western Macedonia.

August 20: A 28 year old worker at the Greek Petroleum refineries Aspropyrgos Panayiotis League lost his life instantly by falling from a height of about 5 meters.

August 21: A 30-year old worker from Albania was killed while working at the gas tank industry of «TANK GAS», in Karditsa, Thessaly. The worker was killed by an explosion, while performing coloring works inside a tank.

August 26: Shortly before 12 at noon, a furnace explosion killed inside a factory the 27 year old Costas Delis. Due to the explosion there were four more worker wounded; one of them, C. Papaconstantinou, suffered severe burns.

August 25: The 38 year old contract employee of the Electrical Company, Panagiotis Hatzidimitriou, was sent to do repairs on columns of electricity cables after 15 days training (the training used to last 6 months some years ago). The “accident” occurred in Thessaloniki, in Lagadas, when the worker fell from a height when he took off his belt to bypass an artificial barrier, while descending from the column he had climbed to repair the damage. He died on the spot.

August 26: The 55 year old Haikalis Kyriazidis died an instant death by electrocution while working in Evoia. He touched a wire, while manipulating the crane that loads tubes. The worker was working in the technical company «ERGOROI», which has undertaken the construction of the “biological purification” of urban liquid waste of Istiea.

August 27: A 28 year old Greek was crushed by a block of residues of animal food in the warehouse he worked for. He was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital of Rethymnon. His colleagues and firefighters freed the worker, who was left unconscious by the blast. He is hospitalized and lives on life preserving devices.

August 28: A 27 year old worker in a painting workshop, in Pandroso, Rodopi, Thrace, was very “lucky”, to fall from a scaffold of five meters, and survive with only minor injuries.

August 29: One more labour “accident” occurred on a site of Egnatia highway in the prefecture of Ioannina. A 47 year old worker from Anilio, Metsovo, Ipeirus, who worked for the Egnatia Odos, had his left hand stuck in a cutting machine. His colleagues in the company of “AKTOR” and firefighters freed the worker, who was unconscious. He was immediately transferred to the Health Center of Metsovo and from there, given the seriousness of the situation, he was relocated to the Ioannina University Hospital.

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Immigrant workers degradation practices in Nea Manolada: farm owners brutally abuse immigrants “to set an example”.

Posted by clandestina on 19 June 2009

Immigrant abuse in Nea Manolada

Unspeakable violence in Nea Manolada, Ileia, Peloponnese.   Farmers in the area “took the law into their own hands” and decided to punish in their own cruel way economic migrants living and working in the area.

Two farmers had set a guard on their farm to watch for the people who had been allegedly stealing sheep.  Having identified some Bangladeshi immigrants as those attempting to steal and made them flee during the night, the morning after the farmers visited the alleged thieves houses.

They punched and kicked them and hit them with clubs while on the ground.  The farmers then tied the immigrants on a motorcycle and dragged them around in the center of the village to set an example for others.

The thefts had never been reported to the police … The intervention of the police  informed of the tragedy by witnesses rescued the immigrants.   Two farmers and two immigrants were arrested.

Translation of excertpts from tvxs article. What follows are articles on the recent history of the strawberry fields of the area.

Greece’s strawberry war ends in uneasy truceFacebook Stumbleupon

by Teacher Dude | April 22, 2008 at 02:19 am

In scenes reminiscent of Steinbeck’s 1930’s classic, the Grapes of Wrath, immigrant and minority workers have clashed with what Greek newspapers called “hired thugs’ over pay and conditions. Amidst sometimes violent clashes agricultural workers in the Greek town of Nea Manolada, home to 90% of Greece’s strawberry production took part in a four day stoppage aimed at getting a pay rise of 3.5 euros a day.

As of Sunday strawberry producers have agreed to rise pay from 22.5 to 28 euros for farm labourers.However, the figure of 28 euros only applies to European workers, non-Europeans will receive only 25 euros according to the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini. Fears still remain that the producers will fail to honour even this agreement, due to be take effect in Autumn, once media attention has died down. The local council sets the minimum wage for untrained labourers at 30.4 euros a day.

It should be noted that strawberries, sometimes called “red gold” by local producers, retail at 1.5 to 3 euros a kilo on the Greek market

The newspaper also brought to light several cases in which the police force and members of the local authorities, which turned a blind eye this week to attacks on union and political activists by landowners, are also involved with various scams involving the sale of fake residence permits for immigrant workers.

Miltos Paulou, head of the European Union Agency for Fundemental Rights (FRA) stated that 70% of those working in intensive agriculture in Greece are illegal immigrants and that Greek law limits foreign workers ability to change jobs so allowing the kind of exploitation seen in Nea Manolada and many other areas.

source of the above.

Migrant workers in Greece wage historic strike

Author: Laura Petricola

People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 05/28/08 08:28

ATHENS — Migrant workers laboring in the strawberry fields of Nea Manolada, in Greece’s southern Peloponnese region, where 90 percent of the country’s strawberry production is concentrated, waged a historic strike last month that will pave the way for immigrant workers in the country to battle for their rights, side by side with Greek workers.
After a three-day strike April 18-20, the field laborers returned to work with a wage increase to 25-26 euros per day. Their wages had been 22-23 euros for a full workday. The strikers have vowed to continue their fight for a daily wage of 30 euros.

Though over 2,000 of the 2,500 agricultural laborers in Nea Manolada are undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and other countries, they fought back against police terror and the vicious attacks of the large producers, demanding better working and living conditions as well as a higher wage.
The All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) has been in Manolada for the past year aiding migrant laborers to organize their struggle and to link these issues to wider workers’ struggles throughout Greece.

On May 11, PAME forces from all over Peloponnese and nearby islands mobilized in Manolada in a mass show of support for the field laborers. The rally’s theme was “Greek and Immigrant Workers United in Struggle!” Large landowners made determined efforts to turn Greek farmers against PAME and the strikers, claiming that immigrant labor costs Greeks their jobs.

Migrant agricultural laborers in Nea Manolada live and work in squalid conditions. They are forced to work every day, including Sunday. Lost days mean lost wages and the threat of firing. They harvest strawberries in greenhouses in 113 degrees Fahrenheit. There are no toilets at the work site; workers must use the fields. The only water supply comes from the pipes used to water the strawberries.

Many workers live in the greenhouses because they cannot afford rent elsewhere. They cover their makeshift beds of wood pallets with newspapers and rags. No running water, electricity or toilets are available. Those “lucky” enough to have housing live with 25 people or more sharing one toilet in abandoned village houses or warehouses where they pay up to 50 euro per month per person.

Workers must pay out of pocket for all medical care, to a government that refuses to grant free medical care to undocumented permanent immigrants. Yet they have many medical problems because of the exhausting work and the excessive use of pesticides and fungicides without protective equipment. Many workers are raising young children under such foul and desperate conditions.

The government refuses to guarantee the workers’ basic rights but instead does all it can to support the “right” of large landowners to extract the greatest maximum profit from them. Just half an hour of work represents the actual cost of labor on a given day; the other six and a half hours line the pockets of the boss. In clearer terms, on average a strawberry worker fills five crates per hour, with 10 boxes per crate. Each box is sold for roughly 3 euros. Do the math!

Given the profits involved, it is clear why strikers and members of PAME were under attack. From the very first day, strikers were terrorized by the bosses. During the strike’s second day, three of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) members present for support were attacked and wounded, while armed groups stormed the workers’ shanties. Threats and provocations continued into the third day while the police looked on.

On the third day, landowners agreed to increase wages and strikers agreed to go back to work, vowing to continue their struggle for a 30 euro daily wage. KKE is demanding that the Ministries of Labor and the Interior intervene, with no results as yet.

The strike shows migrants have power when that power is channeled into mass collective action. KKE proposes a framework of organization and struggle for the needs of migrants and their families including immediate legalization and equal rights in work, health care, education and social security.

source of the above

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