Greece: National Strike to Defend Social Security

Brussels, 4 February 2016 (ITUC OnLine): Greece’s national trade union centre the GSEE has launched a national strike today to protest against the government’s plan to dismantle the country’s social security system. GSEE union members are being joined by a wide range of professional bodies in striking against what the GSEE has described as an “odious” decision, taken by the government following its meetings with employer associations, but with no discussion or consultation with unions. The GSEE describes an increasingly hostile attitude from the government to unions.

“The hope that the Greek government would chart a progressive path forward, and adopt policies that would restore livelihoods and living standards, is turning out to be a false hope. Taking yet more away from the people of Greece, who are already facing serious hardship, will pile on extra pressure on working families and have catastrophic consequences for the unemployed. The prospects of economic recovery are now even further away than before, as purchasing power falls. We express our full solidarity with the people of Greece,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

GSEE press-release


GSEE goes on a 24hour nationwide general strike on 4 February 2016 to protest against a planned overhaul of the country’s pension system literally pushing thousand citizens of all professional categories to destitution.

Responding to our call and coordination efforts for mass participation, professional associations representing the self-employed, associations representing SMEs and commerce, farmers and agriculture sector unions and cooperatives, scientists’ associations (including doctors, lawyers, notaries, etc.) and the public sector unions are striking alongside workers.

The new pension bill, which will be voted in early February, under the pressure of the country’s international creditors, will impose further cuts on benefits and will increase social security contributions, thus pushing the working people and the pensioners into deeper poverty. Within this framework, the Greek government opted to meet and discuss only with employer associations whereby both sides decided to increase workers’ contributions!

After 6 years of failed austerity policies imposed on Greece and of a merciless attack against labour and social security tights, workers, pensioners, the unemployed and the young people of our country are made to pay a heavy price for the harsh measures of the third bailout agreement, the 3rd Memorandum.

We reject:
• any interference in the exercise of democratic and social rights as well as in the existing legal framework of free trade union action,

• anti-labour austerity measures that have strangled collective labour rights and guarantees,

We demand:
• a viable social security system and the restoration of pensions to a decent level,

• measures to safeguard and enhance the public utility character of state-owned enterprises,

• A fair tax system and a tax relief for workers and pensioners,

Through unity and joint action we can reverse this dramatic situation

ITUC solidarity letter to GSEE