The struggle of the Greek Coca-Cola workers is reaching a critical stage. On their own they risk defeat, especially with the passive attitude of the GSEE leaders. United and coordinated with workers across Greece, and internationally, facing the same situation they can win.
The response from the supporters and readers of Marxist.com to our recent solidarity appeal for the Coca-Cola workers in Athens (Greece) has been tremendous. The comrades of the Greek Marxist journal, Marxistiki Foni, sent us a message for all our readers. The Union in the factory has also sent us a letter of thanks for all our readers that we are also publishing here.
The political climate is hotting up along with the weather. The streets of Athens and Salonika are filled with noisy demonstrators waving flags and placards directed against the Pasok government of Costas Simitis (the Greek Tony Blair). But these are demonstrations with a difference. At the head march black-robed bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, who claim to represent the big majority of the Greek people.
In December there was a massive general strike in Greece with huge participation both in the public and private sectors. This is less than two years into the right-wing New Democracy government. The strike was against a new bill affecting workers’ rights. A militant mood is once more growing among Greek workers and it is destined to get stronger in the coming period.
Events in Greece are especially relevant to the British Labour Movement because right wing PASOK (Socialist Party) leader Simitis is pursuing similar policies to those of Tony Blair and so-called "New Labour." This has led to an explosion of anger, not only on the streets, but in the trade unions and in PASOK itself. The PASOK union leaders were pro-Simitis one year ago, but now they have been forced into semi-opposition. Under pressure from below, they called a one-day general strike on April the 8th. Alan Woods reports.
Konstatin Simitis--the Greek Tony Blair--is a worried man. Elected after the death of Andreas Papandreu less than two years ago as leader of the Greek socialist party (PASOK) under the banner of "modernisation" he had 70% of public opinion behind him. Now it has dropped to 18%. The streets of Athens (congested at the best of times) are regularly blocked with demonstrations of angry bankworkers, airline employees and teachers. The premises of the Ionian bank, which the government wants to privatise, are occupied by the workers and covered with black flags. Alan Woods reports from Greece.