ATHENS – While protesters upset with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA for imposing more austerity took to the streets for the annual May Day event, Labour Minister Effie Achtsioglou called for a continuation of class struggle around the world.
Ironically, that came as the party condemned democracy protesters in Venezuela who want to topple the repressive regime of President Nicolas Maduro with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras being one of his biggest die-hard fans.
“May 1 is a day of memory, struggle and claim for the working class all over the world. The duty of the world of labor is to continue this collective struggle with unity and determination. It is our government’s duty to be next to the workers and that is why we are taking measures to strengthen their rights, to improve their income and their negotiating position,” Achtsioglou told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
Protesters weren’t buying what the party’s critics call propaganda with unions, parties and grassroots movements holding rallies and the private sector union and public sector ADEDY calling a 24-hour strike.
They planned to March to Parliament, empty on the holiday, to protest what they called “exploitation and social inequalities,” after Tsipras has spent his more than four years of rule reneging on anti-austerity promises and hammering workers, pensioners and the poor – the alleged darlings of the Leftists – with more brutal measures.
That was done to satisfy the country’s creditors and has led to constant strikes and protests against the government, which have done nothing to sway Tsipras, who has continued measures he blamed previous governments for imposing, which he protested while out of power before winning election in 2015.
In an apparent nod to protesters, Achtsioglou said, “SYRIZA’s efforts, which certainly have a long way to go, confirm not only that the world of labor is SYRIZA’s point of reference, but also that our goal is to make employees the protagonists of the next day,” without explaining why so many workers are against the party.