In Protest of Austerity Measures; Greek Public Service Workers Strike

To the casual observer, it might have seemed like any ordinary day; perhaps there had been an accident or the police, dozens of police, had merely blocked the streets. Then, there was the sight of dozens of protestors at the crest of Athen’s Syntagma Square, shouting pro-labor slogans in Greek and sending a message to the government that was nothing if not loud and clear.

Members of the public service union ADEDY joined general strikes across Greece to protest the “troika’s” measures, including an austerity plan that features decreased public sector spending and personnel cuts.

ADEDY -- which has participated in 40 general strikes since the economic crisis first began in 2010 -- say they will continue the demonstrations “as long as the government insists on adopting the disastrous policies of the troika.”

Schools closed Wednesday as teachers left their classrooms, Parliament halted as lawyers, too, joined the strike. Most public transportation stilled and the airport runways were deserted for a time as air traffic controllers voiced their opposition to these great assaults on economic justice in the global birthplace of political freedom.

Labor journalists and communication strategists have come together in Athens this week as part of Public Services International (PSI) initiative to document the effects of forced austerity measures on the Greek people, and the trade union and community resistance.

Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of PSI, described why public sector unions across the globe are supporting these efforts.

“We are among the trade unions that think social action is very important. These policies are not just being implemented in Greece, but worldwide as well. It has become understood that the crisis is not a new phenomenon. We hope our fight will wake up all workers in order to render change.”

By Courtney-Rose, SEIU, USA