This disturbing report (translated from a Greek newspaper report and translated) was sent to us by Gail Cartmail, Unite Assistant General Secretary and depicts the appalling situation in Greece, where the Greek Coalition Government is now using emergency legislation to break strikes and force workers to work for nothing.
The Greek Coalition Government of conservatives, socialists and the left wing partyÂ under the prime minister Antonios Samaras (from the Conservative Party) has used a special law which is used only in extreme circumstances to force domestic ferry boats crews to break and end their strike. Striking ferry workers had the courage to ask the ship owners (their bosses) to pay them their wages of the last 3 to 6 months which are still unpaid.
A week ago the Coalition Government used the same laws and tactics on rail workers in the Metro to force them back to work. Striking rail workers disputed the dramatic reductions of their pay. However the sea farers fought for something even more tragic – their unpaid wages.
They have been working for several months without any payment. It is obvious the message that the Greek Government wants to send to workers: you should work for whatever money theÂ bosses give you – whenever they want to pay you – and if you are not happy we will force you back to work.
It is a political line which clearly exceeds the target of simply bullying of all employees.
This terrorising of workers is only one aspect of Government policy. The most important and permanent phenomenon is the choice of authoritarian rule of the Coalition to interpret the Greek Constitution as they want.
It becomes obvious from the Government’s actions that the policy of the â€˜Memorandum’ that both this GovernmentÂ and the European policy makers are implementing Â – in full – are against the democratic values.
That is why the coalition (Samaras, Venizelos, Kouvelis) have consistently reduced the powers of a perfectly controlled House and now governs them ostentatiously with ordinances.
These acts of the Coalition constitute a deviation from the democratic process, which the Constitution allows temporarily in extremely ‘exceptional circumstances’ in a ‘hostile military attack’ or ‘natural disasters’.
This policy of strike breaking using force and forcing workers to back to work Â is one of several signs of a Government that have consciously decided to behave dictatorially hoping that their policies will pass.