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Hands off the strike of the seamen

Today, Wednesday 6th February 2012, the seamen are on the ramps of the ships, in their 3rd consecutive 48-hour strike. They continue their strike against the draft law that creates a bleak future for the islands, dismantling the coastal shipping network and the ports, handing them over fully to monopoly capital, condemning the seamen to work without collective agreements and rights. The seamen are struggling against the draft law of the government, defending their labour rights, the collective bargaining agreements so that the passengers can travel safely, with modern ships, with low-price tickets and crews with established rights all year round. They call the working people and the popular strata in the islands, all the working people in shipping industry to join this struggle.

On Tuesday afternoon the coalition government of the liberals, social democrats and the opportunist “Democratic Left” implemented the law of civil mobilization against the strike struggle of the seamen. Thus, it continued its “show of force” towards the working people. This decision follows the implementation of this law against the workers in the Metro and the intervention of the riot police and the arrest of 35 trade unionists of PAME last week. The trade-unionists of PAME were protesting against the provocative statements of the Minister of Labour who talked about a social-security system built on the basis of clientelism.

It is not the first time that the seamen have received an order of civil mobilization by the governments that serve the interests of the ship-owners. At the same time, the government tried in a provocative way to set up strike-breaking mechanisms within the ships. It sent the riot police to impose the loading of the ships by force while it mobilized the bourgeois media of the ship-owners that slander the struggle of the seamen and pretend that they care about the population of the islands and the farmers, who allegedly due to the strike have no access to shipping services or transport for their products.

As the islanders and poor and medium farmers know very well that for many years they do not have access to shipping services because the ship-owners only schedule shipping routes with their profits as the criterion. At the same time the farmers see their harvests being reduced, due to the consequences of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The effort of the government to make sections of the popular strata turn against the strikers is a real provocation, because while it implements the law of the civil mobilization against the seamen in the name of its alleged concern about the farmers and their products, it sends the riot police to the main barricade of the small and medium sized farmers in the Thessaly. The hundreds of farmers who are there with their tractors (over 2000 tractors) at the initiative of the forces of the All-Farmers Militant Rally (PASY) met the savage repression of the police forces that seek to disperse the mass barricade of the poor farmers who are struggling against the measures of the government and the EU that are driving them off the land.

The decision for the civil mobilization of the seamen reveals the unbridled authoritarianism of the government, with which it is attempting to impose the new demands of the ship-owners and the big businessmen in tourism, at the expense of the seamen as well as the other popular strata who live on the islands. As the KKE has stressed, the lies, blackmail and savage repression through the utilization of reactionary laws must fail and backfire on the government. Despite the mobilization of the entire repressive mechanism, the strike continues on the majority of the ships. And those seamen who due to the intimidation, the riot police, and the blackmail were compelled to untie the ships, declared with their statements that they support the strike and their striking colleagues. All the sections of the workers and popular strata in a practical way are standing decisively at the side of the seamen in a wave of militant solidarity, by organizing a solidarity strike in the private and public sector in the region of Attica on Wednesday 6/2.

The presence of the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga herself, was an expression of the party’s support for the struggle of the seamen. She visited the port, midday on Saturday, to take part in the strike demonstration of the seamen. She made the following statement:

“At the same time, when the bosses of the Greek shipping industry are in the no. 1 position globally, a draft law is being prepared which will drive thousands of seamen, the last who have remained after a series of other measures that have been taken, which had at their core the abolition of the cabotage, into unemployment. At the same time, when Greece has the potential to resolve the problem of communication with the islands, a large number of our islands face a serious problem both in winter and even in the summer, as the only thing which interests the bosses is the functioning of those ships which bring currency for the large hotel groups.

We call on the workers, the employees, the professionals and craftsmen, the farmers together with the seamen to wage a struggle, which has crucial significance and above all to show their solidarity, because without class solidarity the measures will be passed even sooner and they will be even more savage.”

Workers from other sectors, People’s Committees, Unemployed Committees from the region of Piraeus, with a special presence of contingents from PAME and MAS (Students’ Struggle Front), formed a mass and dynamic strike demonstration in the port, lending strength to the seamen so that they can continue the fight.

This struggle has already taken its place as a legacy for the working class, with the stamp of the class-oriented forces in the protection and development of the struggle, the support of sections of the working class from other sectors, as well as of the farmers and self-employed, above all of course of the islanders. This struggle can be escalated with the nationwide general strike which has been announced for the 20/2.

There is an immediate need for the international support and solidarity to be expressed in the face of this display of authoritarianism by the government and its “law and order” operation so that class solidarity can be expressed in a decisive way.

Hands off the seamen


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