Laid Off Cleaning Workers Protest Job Cuts

Thousands of striking workers marched against austerity in Greece today as a 24-hour work stoppage closed schools and disrupted service at hospitals, ports, airports and public transportation routes.  Workers are calling attention to high unemployment and devastating cuts to public services imposed by the troika memorandum of understanding.  While torrential rain dampened demonstrations in Athens, major protests took place in cities across the country. 

School teachers, nurses, doctors, municipal workers and transportation workers were among a host of workers and groups that joined the strike. Air traffic controllers stopped work from 10:00 to 13:00 GMT and journalists stopped work for five hours.

A large group of women workers braved the rain, marching with umbrellas through the streets of Athens while chanting; your profits have costs us our jobs and the future is for people who labor. 

The demonstrators were former cleaners at the Ministry of Finance earning between 500 and 525 euros a month.  Due to austerity cuts all current cleaning workers have been fired. An estimated 600 cleaning workers have been laid off at public departments, all to be replaced with outsourced labor.

By Karen Hickey, AFL-CIO Wisconsin, USA