PAME Intervention in the WFTU Presidential Council Meeting, Athens, 2019
Dear colleagues, on behalf of the Executive Secretariat of PAME , the class trade unions of Greece, we wish to thank the Presidential Council of WFTU, the members and friends of the World Federation of Trade Unions for their solid support and solidarity over the years to the workers of Greece. In particular, we would like to thank you for the great honor of being here today with us, on the 20th anniversary of the foundation of PAME.
PAME, the class unions of Greece, as part of the World Class Trade Union Movement, will continue to struggle with self-abnegation for the strengthening of class direction of the trade unions’ struggle, for the strengthening of the WFTU for the definitive abolition of capitalist exploitation.
Dear colleagues, we agree with the proposed Action Plan. We believe that the discussion of the Presidential Council is important to emphasize some points.
In Europe, the anti-workers attack is escalating in parallel with the rise of the repression and the containment of democratic and trade union rights.
In particular, in Greece, while the Government of SYRIZA has been declaring since August that the country has stepped out of the Memoranda, since then it has abolished not even one of the 700 anti-workers laws enforced during the Memoranda. At the same time, Greek workers face the following situation:
- In the last three years, those who have overdue debts to the Tax Office have increased by 66.3% and are faced with forced recovery measures.
- 31.4% of workers work in part time or rotation employment.
- In 2018, 1 in 5 workers worked in flexible employment, from 1 in 10 in 2013.
- 57.41% of new jobs are with contracts of part-time and rotation employment.
- The SYRIZA government for the year 2019 imposed 1 billion euros more taxes on the popular strata at the same time as it reduced taxation for the big capital and for their profits from 15% to 10%
- At the same time, the Government proceeds to thousands of lay-offs of substitute teachers from schools, while in the protest of teachers for their right to work, they responded using violence
- While the auctioning of thousands of houses of workers and indebted people by banks are being promoted
At the same time, the SYRIZA government participates in imperialist plans and gives 2% of GDP, 4 billion euros, each year, for NATO-related equipment that has nothing to do with the defence of the country, but only with the aggressive plans of the US and NATO , at the same time that the people suffers. That is why it promotes the accession of North Macedonia to NATO and the EU in order to block the influence of Russia and China in the Balkans. In these developments, we note the provocative support of the Greek government to the Israeli killer-state and the recent Greek-Israeli-US-Cyprus Summit, just a few days before the US recognizes the Israeli occupation at the Golan Heights and launches new Israeli murderous bombings against the Palestinians. At the same time, the Greek government is implementing a barbaric policy against refugees and immigrants, implementing the EU-Turkey agreement.
The anti-workers attack by EU-Governments and Business Groups would not be so disastrous if they did not have the support of forces within the trade union movement that promote the logic of “class collaboration” that promotes employers’ positions within workers. Such forces also in Greece are the members of the ETUC-ITUC, the leaders of GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers)–ADEDY (Union of Public Servants) who signed the salary reductions of Greek workers. They gave away the right to Strike and to Collective Bargaining.
However, in order to cope with the action of the militant workers, these trade union forces have reached new levels. In view of the Conference of the Confederation of Greek Workers, these forces have attempted to bring employers into the trade unions! In this effort, besides election frauds, extortions and mechanisms, they have come to the point of using secret policemen, riot police forces, henchmen and convicted criminals, against the real workers. In fact, these dirty practices of trade union mafia, which have nothing to do with the workers’ unions, have come under the umbrella of ITUC-ETUC by intervening in the internal processes of the Greek trade union movement.
Of course, we are not surprised, since ITUC-ETUC use the same provocative interventions around the world, either by supporting the US intervention in Venezuela, the jihadist mercenaries in Syria, or by supporting the murderous embargo against Cuba and many others. The only case that the ITUC-ETUC will not speak is when Israel kills the people of Palestine, or the US, NATO and the EU lead a coup in Ukraine and they impose a fascist government.
Despite the negative circumstances, we believe and we are optimistic that the workers can reverse the negative correlation. Workers can hinder, block and overturn the anti-workers policies.
That is why today we need even more massive trade unions, with presence and action in every factory, every workplace. Pure unions against the business groups, against Governments and trade unionists who serve the bosses’ profits, and for this reason they sell workers’ rights. Unions that have roots in the workers, with democratic, open procedures, uniting workers against the uniform attack. Unions that cultivate solidarity, internationalism, the joint action of the workers of all countries against the exploitation and imperialism.
Now that 20 years of PAME’s life and action have been completed, we want to thank the World Federation of Trade Unions, the members and friends from all over the world for their solidarity, support and help in struggles of the working class of Greece.
PAME, the class unions of Greece, committed to the historical task of the working class, we commit ourselves to giving all our power to strengthen WFTU in Europe and around the world, to strengthen the pole of the unions that fight and claim the right of the working class and its liberation from the chains of capitalist exploitation
Long live the proletarian internationalism!
Long live the World Working Class!
Long live WFTU!
Long live the 20 years of PAME!