clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘strikes’

Fishworkers’ strike: An effective response to strikebreaking

Posted by clandestina on 29 March 2010

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.

This is a translation of this solidarity assembly post.   previous posts on the strike here.

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Fishworkers strike: solidarity discussion and concert in Thessaloniki

Posted by clandestina on 25 March 2010

SOLIDARITY ASSEMBLY BLOG

http://solidarityaliergates.blogspot.com/

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

Posted by clandestina on 4 February 2010

info from athens indymedia articles and http://asyntaxtostypos.wordpress.com

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

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

Posted by clandestina on 26 January 2010

SOURCE: http://asyntaxtostypos.wordpress.com/ post, published in athens indymedia.

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 “!

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Update on the fishworkers strike – solidarity march and concert

Posted by clandestina on 22 January 2010

solidarity march, Tuesday January 26, solidarity concert Friday, January 29

previous update

sources

After the first court decision that deemed last week the strike unlawful , the second trial’s decision came yesterday and was also against the strike. The strikers go on with their struggle with 24 hour strike decisions.

Trawlers bosses also continue with their effort to bring other Egyptians as scabs. According to Rhizospastis newspaper, “agents” in Athens are into this, and a meeting took place in the trawler owners offices in Michaniona, between the bosses and an “agent” (referred as “smuggler” by the newspaper).

The Egyptians themselves estimate that they will probably be in position to reach some agreement with their compatriots, should any of them be brought as scabs, since it is highly unlikely that the people allured would be aware of the situation.

“If they attemt to bring scabs, instead of 250 strikers they will have 400”. This is one of the things some of the strikers shared with the attendance of the successful Info Event of Wednesday at the Thessaloniki Polytechnic. About seventy people were there.

“The strikers talked in a way that both moved us and strenghtened our conviction that their fight is a fight for us all.  With dignity and determination to go all the way with their struggle, they spoke warmly and directly. In other words, they “forced” everyone to stand beside them and try to put forward solidarity action on even more serious basis. Besides the ultimate goal, the victory of the strike, we can learn from them and get to know each other.  We have to learn how to intervene (or even attempt to do so) on a sound basis, with a view to real links with the people in such struggles, and to the social and not simply the political.  The strikers also talked about how they understand solidarity and made clear two things: they want to avoid at any case extreme conflicts between forces supporting the strike, as well as any action that could endanger their physical presence at the village.  Under current conditions these seem reasonable and understandable. In other words, if one believes that this is the time to resolve disputes with the Communist Party, there is clearly a problem…”.

The further actions decided at the event were

  • mass leafleting at the Thessaloniki fishmarket on Saturday
  • a solidarity march for Tuesday January 26 at Thessaloniki
  • a solidarity concert on Friday, January 29 at Kamara square.

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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.

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Solidarity with the Fishworkers on Strike – event in Thessaloniki, Wed, Jan 20.

Posted by clandestina on 16 January 2010

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FISHWORKERS ON STRIKE! INFO EVENT JAN 20, 19.00, POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL, THESSALONIKI - by the SOLIDARITY ASSEMBLY

MORE ABOUT THE STRIKE

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Egyptian fishworkers on strike in Nea Michaniona, Northern Greece.

Posted by clandestina on 16 January 2010

photo from Rizospastis newspaper

solidarity with the struggle of the Egyptian fishworkers - graffiti in Michaniona

UPDATE JAN 16: On Thursday, January 14, the case of the trawlers bosses against the strike was brought to court, and the strike was judged “illegal and abusive” (the strike was under the auspices of the private sector employees union, until the fishworkers validated their own Union during the stike by union elections – the Union was established three years ago but remained unofficial for not having undergone elections).

Despite this court decision, the fishworkers will go on  with their struggle and their Union has decided repeated one-day stikes for the days to come.

On Thursday the protest march called by the fishworkers took place.  It concluded at the Ministry located in Thessaloniki.  PAME (CP’s Union) had a strong presence.  Extra-parliamentary leftists and antiauthoritarians did participate but their numbers were lower than one would expect given the significance of the struggle.

After the demonstration an assembly was held at the Polytechnic University and today a text was leafletted at the city’s fish market, and a poster was billed on the streets calling for an information event at the same place on next Wednesday.

source: athens indymedia article

UPDATE JAN 13 :

the lawsuit the vessel owners lodged against the strike will be brought to court tomorrow, Thursday, at 9.00. There is a call for a demonstration by the strikers and the CP controlled trade union PAME for tomorrow at 6.30, at Aristotelous sq. (Agalma Venizelou). People obviously from the anarchist / antiauthoritarian scene also call through Athens Indymedia (in Greek) for active support to the strike and the demonstration, since on Tuesday (when the case was at first to be judged) the presence of solidarity beyond CP supporters outside the courts was miniscule (a relevant call has been posted at the Thessaloniki University, and there will be a gathering for coordination after the demonstration at the Polytechnic school).

Rizospastis Newspaper reported that yesterday “some vessel owners “kicked the Egyptians out” of the trawlers where they stay at night according to the treaty,and in violation of the latter’s terms manned their trawlers with scabs and sailed, ”.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 12 JAN.:

Yesterday Jan 11 the trial of the lawsuit the vessel owners lodged against the strike was postponed (it will take place on Thursday). Meanwhile, there have been negotiations. The employers, in cooperation with the Mayor of Michaniona and the Egyptian Embassy, along with creating an atmosphere of threats and bigotry, proposed an outrageous text as a basis for the settlement for workers demands. This text not only failed to satisfy any of the demands, but also included clauses prohibiting union organisation for the Egyptian workers, demanding the dismissal of those “misbehaving” or those “being incosistent with their obligations”. It also included a blacklist of the “troublemakers”, which had been already sent to the Embassy (one can easily understand what kind of treatment these persons – those prominently active in the struggle – will receive if deported, actually, to Egypt). They also tried to fool the Egyptians providing this text in three languages (Greek, Arabic and English) with the condition that the English is to be considered the valid one in case the translations are found not exactly matching – while the Egyptians only understand the Arabic variant. The workers clearly rejected the text.

Egyptian fishworkers on strike in Nea Michaniona, Northern Greece.

About 300 Egyptian workers at the fishing boats of Nea Michaniona (a village near Thessaloniki, Northern Greece) blockaded two days ago the small port of the village.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hunger strikes, pickets and urban guerillas in Greece before critical weekend

Posted by clandestina on 4 September 2009

Article by taxikipali at libcom.org on latest developments.

Hunger strikes, pickets and urban guerillas in Greece before critical weekend

In the run-up to the huge protest marches of the coming weekend in Salonica, Greece sees immigrants’ hunger strikes, Wind workers take up pickets for national strike, as well as the Athens Stock Market and one Ministry hit by guerrillas.

Tension is building across Greece in expectation of the International Exibition of Salonica, the annual start of the protest season in the country when the PM usually announces the new year’s programme. As this time around the PM is expected to either announce the dissolution of his government and immediate elections or make some life-saving surprise move, the stakes are high. Huge protest marches which traditionally swamp Salonica in the first weekend of September are expected to be militant, while even police unions having announced they will march…in uniform…

In the run-up of the weekend, a series of social and labour struggles as well as the ever-surprising re-emergence of urban guerrilla attacks have been setting the pace. More specifically:

In Pagani, the notorious immigrants’ detention camp in Lesbos island recently brought to the public spotlight after UN condemnations of barbarity and No-Border actions, 47 minors from Afghanistan, Somalia and Palestine have started a hunger strike on Tuesday 1st of September. The hunger strikers announced: ”We don’t need anything but freedom no food, no medicine. We are in hunger strike.” For of the minors are in a “dry” hunger strike, refusing to take any liquids, and already suffering medical consequences. The hunger strikers have already been imprisoned in the camp for 60 days with no sign of their release.

At the same time workers of the international telecommunication corporation Wind have declared a national strike for Thursday 3rd of September picketing all the central premises of the corporation. The industrial action has been taken in response to the recent lay-off of a female worker in the company which the strikers have denounced as a “antiunionist terrorist measure”.

Meanwhile on the urban guerrilla front, Athens was rocked by a big explosion on Wen. 2/9 which destroyed the facade and two floors of the newly built Athens Stock Market setting off a fire in the inside that was controlled by the fire brigade. The explosion was caused by a bomb in a parked van outside the Stock Market and was pre-announced to the press to avoid injuries. Nevertheless due to police incompetence one woman was slightly injured by broken glass as officers failed to evacuate the area properly. From the explosion several car-expos around the building were also damaged. Earlier the same morning another bomb caused small damaged to the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace in Salonica. Speculations on the culprits fall on the usual range of left-wing guerrilla groups, yet as of this moment no organisation has claimed responsibility for either of the attacks.

update: The government finally made its surprise move: resigning even before the International Expo in Salonica. Yesterday the PM came live to announce the dissolution of parliament and early elections (2 years before scheduled) due to “the political climate not allowing him to do his work”. Meanwhile the left-wing daily eleftherotypia has estimated that the Stock Market bomb is the largest ever to be set off in greece, and part of the Revolutionary Struggle’s demolotion campaign against symbols of Capital. Still no organisation has claimed the attack.

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Strikes, hunger strikes and clashes in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 16 July 2009

source: libcom.org

Strikes, hunger strikes and clashes in Greece

Submitted by taxikipali on Jul 14 2009

Strikes, hunger strikes and environmental action leading to clashes with riot police open week after weekend of state terror in Greece.

After the weekend of terror in Greece, the mid-summer week has started with a wave of strikes and environmental actions, underlining that the spine of the movement is too strong to break.

On Monday 13/7 trains across Greece came to a halt for 48h as a result of a rolling 3-hour stoopage industrial action by railway workers.At the same time workers at Wind, the mobile telecommunications giant, in Greece declared a 24h strike. Workers of Wind and solidarity workers of other industrial sectors gathered outside the company’s HQ and blockaded its entrance on Tuesday 14/7 morning till the afternoon.

The same day the committee against harm, and the committee against exploitation in the village of Megali Panagia in Chalkidiki joined by scores of locals form the wider area built block houses along the forest roads leading to Scouries, the area that a big gold-mining company wants to transform into a wasteland with the support of the greek government which has recently passed a law that declares any opposition to the exploitation of minerals as treason. The area has a long history of struggle against gold mines which peaked in the late 1990s with the titanic struggle of Olympiada villagers against TVX-Gold.

Meanwhile OTE, the National Telecomunication Company has sued the historical Athens Polytechnic for hosting athens indymedia in its server, alleging that this violates the conditions of its contract with OTE. The Polytechnic has condemned the legal action as censorship in line with LAOS (fascist party) demands of gagging radical dissent to the regime. The legal action was also condemned by the Coalition of Radical Left. On Tuesday 14/7 protesters attacked the central OTE tower in Athens with black paint symbolising the information black out planned by its managers. Many workers in the tower expressed their support to the action.

The same day locals of Grammaticos who are resisting the construction of an open refuse damp in their area, and clashed with riot police last week erecting barricades and torching company bulldozers organised a protest march towards the riot police blockade of the construction site. The locals clashed with the police throwing stones and other projectiles, including a few molotov cocktails. The battle lasted for about an hour and the locals suffered the extended use of tear gas and ‘blast flash’ grenades.

In the prison front, Thodoris Iliopoulos started a hunger strike on the 10th of July 2009. Iliopoulos was arrested on the 18th of December 2008 in Akadimias street during a riot police sweeping operation in the context of the December Uprising. He is held since the 22nd of December in the Court Prisons of Koridallos accused for 3 crimes with no witnesses other than policement. Iliopoulos denies all charges against him, and has launched a long campaign to prove his innocence. On the 8th of July his petition for release until his trial was waived by judges, being the only arrested from the December Uprising to be still held hostage. On beginning his hunger strike Iliopoulos declared: “In go on hunger strike. It is the only means remaining to me as a hostage on order to cry out the truth and denounce the terrible injustice. To denounce the hatred and the empathy of ‘justice’ mechanisms. To denounce the arbitrariness and the violence of a ‘justice’ which is blind indeed, the its even more ‘blind’ functionaries”. In solidarity the convict Nicos Tsouvalakis has also started a hunger strike demanding the release of Iliopoulos and in protest to the dehumanising prison conditions. As of Monday 13 of July the inmates of the First Wing of Koridallos Prison, the central prison of the country in Athens, declared that they abstain from the prison kitchen ration.

Meanwhile 19 Pakistani asylum seekers held in the police station of Glyfada, south Athens, are in their fourth day of hunger strike in protest to the agreement of the ministry of Public Order and the Pakistani Embassy to repatriate them. The asylum seekers claim that their life is in danger if they return to Pakistan.

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