Greek workers take strike action against attacks on the right to strike


A protester from the Communist-affiliated PAME labor union during a rally in Athens today. Strikes against Greece’s new conservative government have halted ferries and transport services across the country as unions rally in opposition to a new labor bill they argue will undermine collective bargaining rights and the right to strike

GREEK workers marched through the streets of Athens today against the new government’s attempts to weaken unions and halt their right to strike.

Thousands of public and private-sector workers marched to parliament, supported by pensioners and students, in protest against labour reforms in the second nationwide action within a week.

Protesters chanted: “Hands off strikes, hands off unions” and “They won’t stop unless you stop them.” The marchers also protested against privatisation plans and the impact of austerity from high unemployment.

The new conservative government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis plans to change rules on how industrial action can be declared, wage pacts and to create a registry for unions.

Mr Mitsotakis claimed the unionists are “removed from reality” and that the proposals were designed to make decision-making on industrial action more “inclusive.”

But workers say the reforms will not help the huge 17 per cent unemployment rate or bring any economic growth promised by the government.

The Bill will be voted on this month.