Greece: General strike for better changes


Today, 14 December 2017, the public sector confederations, GSEE, as well as ADEDY to which OLME and DOE, ETUCE member organisations in Greece, are affiliated, are protesting the agreement reached between the Greek government and European and international institutions (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism and the International Monetary Fund) on 15 June 2017, touching upon labour market and further privatisation patterns.

According to the ADEDY statement, the strike has already gained a wide range of features, with the participation of public and private sector employees.

In view of the current situation workers are facing, including pay cuts to minimum wages and the possibility for employers to suspend sectoral collective agreements. The employees in Greece demand, among other things:

  • the abolition of the Law on the retirement pension;
  • decent salaries and pensions;
  • recruitment of permanent staff to cover all the organisational gaps (Education, Health, Municipalities, Insurance Funds, Social Services etc.);
  • no change in trade union law.

The public sector is strongly determined to defend the right to strike.

Both DOE and OLME are taking part in the general strike. Kikinis Thanasis, DOE President, said “ It is a successful strike that stresses the poverty that has been imposed to the working people in Greece. In particular, for the education sector, this strike highlights the great problems that it faces, among other things, non-realisation of permanent appointments, the struggle for a two year early childhood education and increased working hours. Teachers in Greece fight for a substantial support to public education and for the recognition of the role of teachers”.

Among other things,OLME President, Nickolaos Papachristos, stressed the following demands:

- the teaching load is not further increased, neither is the number of our total working hours spent in schools
- no external evaluation takes place for teachers and educators, as the Minister of Education has announced
- the new attempted reform designed for the Upper Secondary sector called ‘New Lyceum’ is abandoned as it drastically decreases general education subjects during the last two years in Upper Secondary Schools and introduces instead a kind of  premature specialization (only three general education subjects remain while the others are selected by the students themselves)
- students’ grades earned during their school studies do not count for their admission in higher education institutions/universities
- no external exam assessors are required for the grading of student exam papers for admission in higher education - public secondary education teachers are very much capable of doing so.

Furthermore, following the agreement, authorities in Greece plan its implementation through the restriction of industrial action.

ETUCE supports teachers and their unions in Greece protesting the harmful agreement and their call for decent working conditions, salaries and social dialogue.