Wage slavery

Text of the Libertarian Syndicalist Union of Athens, sent to our email.

Τhe Bauen Hotel in Argentina is about to close down, after 14 years of operation by workers self-management. Through a law passed by the Congress of Argentina on November 30 of 2016, the property was expropriated for the benefit of the worker’s cooperative. Nevertheless, the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri decided to exercise his veto right against expropriation law.

Apart from the fact that the workers and their families will find themselves in a difficult financial situation, it is important that the Argentine state decided to hit one of the most emblematic companies recuperated by workers. Through the blow to the Bauen cooperative, the state attempts to hit all of the recuperated businesses and the horizontal-management movement that was developed in the country.

This very minute, inside and outside Argentina a pressure movement has being developed , a movement that invites members of the House of Representatives and Senate to reject the presidential veto and ratify the law expropriates the Bauen Hotel for the benefit of its employees, therefore to prevent eviction them from the hotel. The Libertarian Union of Athens (ESE) invites every workers’ collective, every base union, every trade union, labor collectives and every individual worker or employee, both women and men, to support the self-organized Bauen hotel, and to join their voice to the international pressure of the working class and social movement, so that the workers in Bauen emerge victorious. Read the rest of this entry »

In 2012 Coca Cola (Greece) decided to shut down their redistribution centers in Rhodes, Corfu and Messolonghi, as well as their factories in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, while they announced job cuts at their plant in Volos.  In October 2012, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (Coca-Cola HBC AG) announced that it is moving its headquarters to Switzerland and its shares from the Athens Stock Exchange to London.  This company was one of the largest in Greece, with subsidiaries in 28 countries and a gross sales of around EUR 6.9 billion in 2013 alone.

The next round of layoffs occurred in October 2013 cutting another 33 jobs in the distribution center of the company in Thessaloniki. The layoffs resulted on a strike by workers.  In November 2013, the company sued the members of the Federation of Workers in the Sector Bottling union members and workers in Thessaloniki, demanding 250,000 for damages allegedly had Coca-Cola because of the protesters who had alleged that the company moved its facilities to countries where the cost of production to the employer is lower and inhuman working conditions.

The dismissed workers began a boycott of Coca Cola products in protest at the closure of several production units in Greece for the layoffs of hundreds of workers, cut hundreds of jobs, and  transfer production to Bulgaria, (which is cheaper for multinational corporations in terms of labor costs).  Workers accuse Coca-Cola of hypocrisy, since the multinational advertising company mentioned “business programs of social responsibility” while simultaneously dismissing workers in order to maximize their profits. Read the rest of this entry »

 ​​ News from the bookworkers strike called on the 18th of June ​​ News from the bookworkers strike called on the 18th of June ​​ News from the bookworkers strike called on the 18th of June ​​ News from the bookworkers strike called on the 18th of June
On Wednesday the 18 June, was a day of strike action in the book industry. Our Union together with several colleagues from other worker’s unions, collectives of workers and of the unemployed, neighborhood assemblies, student unions and other initiatives, in total over 200 people, began a series of strike actions.

From early on in the morning, round about 8 o’clock we began with strike picketing at bookstores and publishing houses to be found at the juncture of Solonos and Ippokratous street (Hristakis, Tsigaridas, Sakoulas publishers, Livanis, Pyrinos kosmos). At the same time leaflets where shared to passers-by, whilst through our sound speaker system you could hear songs and strike announcements.  Following this, at about 11 am, we proceeded with a strike barrage of the bookstore Politia. At the same time as this strike action took place, our strike gathering began at the street corner of Solonos and Asklipiou street, where from 12 o’clock and after began our strike march. The march moved through Solonos, Benaki and Stadiou. Our main banner wrote “Down with labour conditions from the middle ages – organisation and collective resistance from below in every workplace”. The march arrived after a while at the ministry of labour. Our long standing request to meet with the leadership of the ministry was not accepted. Read the rest of this entry »

For the second year running the media group MAD media will be in charge of the organization of the Greek final of the song selection for Eurovision. Its owner, Andreas Kouris, had been also the owner of Metropolis, a chain of thirteen music stores. When all those stores were closed two years ago, 180 workers were laid out. Since then the owner of MAD, of those music stores and of more companies, owe the laid off employees about 600 thousand euros and the Greek State about 1.4 million euros.

For the second year running the laid-off of Metropolis, with the support of several trade unions, base assemblies and people who have shown solidarity with their struggle, are organizing today a street protest outside the place where the Greek selection for Eurovision Song Contest will be held. The text that follows is the communiqué of the laid-off workers of Metropolis music stores, published in English on their web page.

During the last two years, we have been waging a hard, tiring and relentless struggle to take the money, wages and compensations, owed to us by big-shot entrepreneur Andreas Kouris, owner of MAD Entertainment group and former owner of the once-mighty Metropolis chain of music stores, which he took over and destroyed within three years, laying off 180 workers and closing down 13 stores. Read the rest of this entry »

The 24-hour nationwide strike of Vodafone employees held Friday, Feb. 28 2014 was a great success. The strike was called against the establishment of the “new company “/ subcontractor of Wind & Vodafone, where they plan to transfer the bulk of technical staff. During the strike a new general assembly was called at the Palini (Attica Greece) headquarters which decided to escalate protests by calling two more 24 hour strikes, for Friday March 7th and Monday, the 10th, which are the two days that management plans to transfer workers to the new company without proper notification and consent of the employees.

On Monday March 10th a new general assembly is called to assess the situation and plan the course of action. For a year now our employee unions (of Vodafone & Wind) decisively and steadily resist the transfer of technicians to the “new” subcontractor company, complaining that it is just a plan by management for the sole purpose of dividing up workers in separate companies, to weaken their unions, and thus to diminish the effects of the acquired rights fought for by the unions. Eventually their primary goal for this transformation is to abolish the Collective Bargaining Agreement in effect. Read the rest of this entry »

Demetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th centuryDemetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th centuryDemetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th centuryDemetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th centuryDemetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th centuryDemetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th centuryDemetris Tyrologos of Scherzo Cafe is not a slave master in the American South of the early 19th century
On Saturday the 22nd of February the Union of Servers and Cooks (generally employees in the retail served food & beverage handling business) called a gathering with collaborating 1st degree horizontally organized unions, worker collectivities, and surrounding area assemblies/squats/social centers, about an attack on a union member employee at a bar/cafe called “Scherzo” in Marousi (a wealthy middle class suburb in the North part of Athens). The gathering  was initially called at the nearby metro station and once a significant number of people would gather they would all move outside the cafe. The calling was all internal for the members of the collectivities invited.  This would present little preparation for the owner and police to block the effectiveness of the demonstration.

The reason for this demonstration was that a long term employee who also happens to be an immigrant from Pakistan, has never been officially hired, is uninsured and his wage is only a fraction of the minimum legal wage. But this was not an issue of dispute between the boss (a young rich guy who is also an amateur, or should we say immature, boxer). The employee has been working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, doing everything the boss has been asking him to do.  He has even been asked to clean the bosses’ home, do the laundry, etc. For all this slave labor the man was getting paid 300euro a month, that is 10Euro a day, and less than 1 euro an hour, when the legal minimum is about 50% more and that is for 40hrs a week with overtime being paid at 50% over normal hourly rate. This has been a theoretical pay in the past couple of years when the IMF, EEC, and troika have severely pressured wages and working conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Demonstration in the rain about the suicide of a Praktiker employeeBackground Information: On February 3 Stefanos Valavanis, an employee of the Praktiker Hardware Store at Egaleo, committed suicide at his home. Just two days before the company was forcing him into “voluntary” resignation in order not to pay him any compensation as he was legally entitled to.

About 200 people gathered in the Estavromenos square of the Athenian suburb of Egaleo around 12:30 and started marching towards the local Praktiker* store. The cold and rainy weather may have inhibited a more massive turnout, but those who marched had a dynamic presence on the street. The march was well guarded and loud slogans resonated through the entire neighborhood. The radical and subversive tone of overthrow displaced the politically passive and submissive silence. We crossed Iera Odos (the areas central commercial avenue) with the “discreet escort” of police. Shortly before reaching Praktiker the presence of two platoons of riot police became less discreet as they took their position in front of the store.  The store had shut the large underground parking area and had stretched thick wire mesh in the facade. The demonstrators demanded the riot police squads to move away from the entrance so we got right in front of the central entrance. This had as an effect the Praktiker’s store internal doors to be locked down while the adjoining grocery store remained open. We stayed for about 20 minutes shouting slogans and distributing leaflets inside and outside the building and drew slogans and threw red paint on the facade of the store. Then we all marched to the metro station of the Agia Marina which is within a short walking distance from the Praktiker and then returned to the Estavromenos square where we had started. Read the rest of this entry »

After an internet service provider (ISP) Hellas OnLine succeeded in transferring most of their employees to another company, two major cellular phone carriers followed their example by transferring most of their employees to a common subcontractor.  300 of Vodafone’s and Wind’s employees transferred to a contracting company which was founded a few months ago for the exact purpose, without obtaining the consent of their workers.  The newly founded contractor is name Victus Networks SA and the only shareholders of this company are Vodafone and Wind, with each holding a 50% stake at their contractor.

At Hellas OnLine workers were called to sign their resignation voluntarily and be sign-up at a new contractor with a three month temporary contract and with significantly lower wages.  If they denied they would just be fired.

Vodafone and Wind have “advanced” further in revealing the true face of neoliberalism.  According to the employers the transfer would take place “automatically” and this is an arbitrary interpretation of a Presidential decree that gives the right to an employer to transfer employees from one organization to another.  The employers, however, failed to mention the most important: of conventions that are is still enforced.

Read the rest of this entry »

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