Greece’s largest trade union organisations announce general strikes from Friday May 6

Greece’s largest trade union organisations, including the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union federation ADEDY, on Thursday announced strike action against a draft bill on pension and tax reforms that is to be voted on over the weekend.

GSEE announced a 48-hour general strike on Friday and Saturday, accusing the government of a carrying out a “parliamentary coup” through its sudden decision to bring forward the debate on the draft bill forward to the weekend using fast-track procedures. The union had already announced a 24-hour general strike and morning rally in Athens’ Klafthmonos Square on May 8 – a designated Sunday opening day for shops – to mark Labour Day.

A GSEE announcement said the planned Labour Day rallies will become central trade union strike rallies, urging workers to participate in force and the opposition parties to condemn the decision to bring forward the vote.

ADEDY will also strike on the same days, alongside GSEE, urging all its members to oppose the new measures that include VAT hikes, higher taxes on fuel, alcohol and tobacco and additional pension cuts.

The strike action by the two umbrella trade union organisations, which represent the majority of private and public-sector workers in Greece, will be joined by all categories of Greek seamen, whose union federation PNO on Thursday announced a four-day strike starting at 6:00 on Friday until 6:00 on Tuesday, May 10. The strike is expected to affect Greek ferry connections and the return of many holiday-makers after the Easter break, while PNO is planning a rally in Piraeus port at noon on Friday, with strikers gathering at Karaiskaki Square.

Other unions joining the strike include the national journalists’ union federation POESY, municipal employees, the PPC power company union GENOP-DEH, while the KKE-affiliated trade union faction PAME is planning three strike rallies, two in Omonia on Friday and Saturday and one in Syntagma on Sunday morning at 10:30.

The farmers’ Nationwide Committee of Roadblocks also called on all farmers to take part in a strike action on May 7 (Saturday) in Athens, saying the rally will start at 18.00 (local) in Omonia square.

“They will not take us by surprise. The government attempts like a criminal to finish the ‘dirty work’ quickly and has decided to bring the bill for a vote in parliament over the weekend,” the committee said.