Greece: General Strike Looms as IMF Demands Further Suppression of Workers’ Rights
Greece’s national trade union centre GSEE is calling a general strike on 8 December as details emerge from negotiations between creditors and the government for wholesale removal of workers’ rights.
Led by the EU and IMF, creditors are demanding removal of restrictions on mass dismissal of workers, new obstacles to trade union organisation and collective bargaining, further restrictions on the right to strike and deeper cuts to pensions.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “The IMF seems to have little if any understanding of what is really happening in Greece and indeed in the world in general. Six years of imposing the will of financial capital at the expense of workers has been an utter failure, and left the Greek economy with no pathway for a return to growth and job creation. Ideology has again trumped sensible economics with this latest round of demands, which even a beginner economist can tell will drive the economy into deeper trouble and leave even more people in severe poverty.”
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “The IMF is out of touch and out of line. Austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere have a proven track record of not working. We stand in solidarity with our Greek unions and the Greek people who once again will take to the streets to demand a new path to growth and sustainability and away from the carnage created by austerity.”
The ideological nature of the IMF’s demands has been underlined by their insistence on “lock-out” provisions for employers, even though the Greek employers have not asked for this. The ITUC General Council, meeting in Vienna today, expressed its solidarity and support to the Greek workers and their unions.
“We call on the IMF to cease and desist from these destructive policies in Greece which are causing immense pain to workers and their families and are creating economic devastation,” said Burrow.