Greeks in fresh general strike against austerity

BBC News, 20 February 2013

A demonstrator tries to pass a riot police cordon during a strike in Athens (20 Feb 2013)

Tens of thousands of Greeks are taking part in the first general strike of 2013, as workers renew their protest over austerity measures.

Crowds marched towards parliament in Athens, beating drums and blowing whistles as part of the 24-hour strike.

Minor clashes broke out at one stage when police fired tear gas at hooded youths throwing stones.

The strike has been called by Greece’s two biggest trade unions, representing half the four million-strong workforce.

“We are protesting about pensions, emergency taxes, the high cost of life,” retired factory worker Kyriakos Anastassiadis told the Associated Press.

The strike shut schools and left hospitals with emergency staffing. Domestic flights and long-distance train services were cancelled.

Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary-general of Adedy public sector union, said the strike was an attempt to “get rid of the bailout deal”.

“A social explosion is very near,” he said. Continue reading

India: Nationwide trade union strike hits banks, Noida protests turn violent

Bharat Bandh turns violent in Noida.

 


Noida, February 20, 2013
[Protesters put a truck on fire during the 2-day trade union strike in Noida.]

A union leader was killed in Haryana and factory units damaged in Delhi suburb Noida in sporadic violence on Wednesday as the start of a two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions evoked a mixed response with banking services paralysed and public transport disrupted. Kerala, Tripura and Bihar were among the worst hit states where normal life was thrown out of gear while stray incidents of violence were reported in Odisha and Karnataka. Protest marches were taken out in several cities.Flight and rail operations remained unaffected in the strike called by 11 trade unions against UPA’s economic and alleged anti-labour policies.

Reports from state capitals said financial services were crippled and bus commuters faced difficulties.

In Noida Phase 2 area, workers clashed with factory owners in a hosiery complex and set ablaze vehicles prompting authorities to deploy PAC in the area. Workers went on a rampage and damaged industrial properties, police said.

From Sector 82 till Greater Noida entry point, which is the industrial belt, workers set ablaze a car, bus and a fire engine, police said.

“People just barged in, looted everything in sight and even tore our registers,” an industrialist said while another said every single building in the hosiery complex had their windows broken and many vehicles were set on fire. Continue reading

India: Revolutionary Trade Unions’ Call for General Strike

 DELHI GENERAL MAZDOOR FRONT (DGMF)

S-21/E-42, Indira Kalyan Vihar, Okhla Phase I, New Delhi 110020
PRESS STATEMENT,  19.02.2013:  Observe the Two Day Countrywide Strike on 20-21 February 2013!”

All the central trade unions have come together to call a two-day countrywide strike on 20 and 21 February 2013 in order to demand the fulfilment of a number of pressing issues connected to the lives of the workers and employees in both the organised and unorganised sectors. DGMF is aware that most of these trade unions are affiliated to the same parliamentary parties in power – whether at the centre or in various states – which are directly responsible for implementing anti-worker and anti-people policies. These political parties and their trade unions have repeatedly sacrificed the interests of the working masses of the country without batting an eyelid. In fact, all the parliamentary parties in the country today stand exposed as the agents and the representatives of foreign and domestic big capitalists.

The central trade unions have never seriously challenged the pro-imperialist policies of their mother parties. So to call a two-day strike upholding the rights of the workers is nothing but an eyewash – a move to hoodwink the toiling masses. It is out of popular pressure that these unions had to call a protest action in the form of the strike. The demands articulated by the two-day strike, however, are genuine demands of the workers themselves. DGMF therefore extends its solidarity to the workers’ strike and calls upon the working people of the country to observe the two-day strike. Without being a part of the grand alliance of ruling-class and revisionist trade unions, DGMF along with other revolutionary trade unions of the country has independently issued a strike call for 20 and 21 February 2013, and will strive to successfully implement the strike.

In solidarity,

Rash Behari

President, DGMF

Jagdish

General Secretary, DGMF

08826203405

As government, creditors near deal on further austerity, Greek unions hold new general strike

A man eats a meal from a soup kitchen organized by the Church of Greece in Athens, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, which has been designated International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Greece is in the throes of an economic depression that has seen the economy shrink by a fifth over the past five years, while unemployment is at 25 percent, the highest in decades. The crisis has caused a major rise in homelessness, while the number of people depending on soup kitchens for sustenance has rocketed. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

NICHOLAS PAPHITIS,  Associated Press, October 18, 2012

ATHENS, Greece — Labor unions in recession-hobbled Greece are holding another general strike against a new harsh austerity program, as European leaders beset by a deep debt crisis and economic stagnation gather for a summit meeting in Brussels.

Thursday’s strike is set to close down public services and severely hamper most forms of transport — with even taxi drivers joining in for nine hours — while shopkeepers in Athens and other cities are planning to shut down for the day. It is the second general strike in less than a month.

Unions are organizing two separate marches in central Athens. Demonstrators’ ire will focus on the new belt-tightening for 2013-14, demanded by bailout creditors to release a desperately needed new rescue loan payment.

The city has seen hundreds of anti-austerity protests — many violent — over the past three years, since Greece revealed it had been misreporting key deficit figures and sank into an economic gloom so deep it has been likened to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The country is clinging to solvency with the help of two massive international bailouts worth a total €240 billion ($315 billion). To secure them, it committed to drastic spending cuts, tax hikes and reforms, aimed to cure years of profligate government spending.

But while significantly reducing budget deficits, the measures accelerated a recession that after five years is closer to a depression. By the end of next year, the economy is expected to have shrunk by about a quarter from 2008 levels. And with one in four workers out of a job, Greece has the worst unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union.

“In general, we’re going from bad to worse,” said 85-year-old pensioner Giorgos Ierodimos. “Salaries are being reduced, pensions are being reduced, everything is getting more expensive, from food to health care to hospitals, medicines, everything. So how will people live? How will we live?” Continue reading

Spain burns as strikes bring nation to its knees

Nine injured and scores are arrested as austerity protest descends into violence

by Alasdair Fotheringham, The Independent (UK)

Friday, 30 March 2012 — A nationwide general strike fuelled by a groundswell of anger against crippling unemployment levels and severe ongoing austerity cuts culminated in dozens of large-scale evening demonstrations across Spain yesterday.

Approximately a quarter of a million protesters took to the streets in Barcelona, with some fringe groups attacking police vans and smashing shop windows until late into the evening. In contrast Madrid’s almost equally large demonstration, where the crowds of chanting, whistling protestors filled the emblematic Puerto del Sol square and surrounding streets to bursting point, was reported as being totally peaceful.

“There’s lots of people here, but we need even more, this country is going through an awful situation and its going to get worse,” young protester Luis Ferrer, on the dole for three months, told The Independent in Madrid’s demonstration.

“If we don’t make ourselves heard now, we never will. I don’t think we’re going to end up like Greece, but they’re using this recession to take away our rights as workers.It’s just an excuse.”

“The labour reforms they want to bring in are terrible and our wages are awful,” Jose, a protestor in his twenties, added. “They want us to work more and more, put up taxes too and that’s just not on.” Continue reading

Greece: Strike wave builds toward 48 hours general strike

Greek strike wave grows ahead of austerity vote

ATHENS, Greece, October 17, 2011 – Greek railway workers and journalists joined ferry crews, garbage collectors, tax officials and lawyers on Tuesday in a strike blitz against yet more austerity measures required if the country is to avoid defaulting on its debts.

The protests will lead into a general strike over the coming two days, culminating on Thursday when Parliament holds a crucial vote on the new painful cutbacks that follow nearly two years of austerity. A similar strike before an austerity bill in June was accompanied by large protest marches which degenerated into street battles between rioters and police.

The highly unpopular new measures include further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants out of a total of more than 750,000 and the suspension of collective labor contracts. Continue reading