ATHENS – Rallies to mark international Labour Day on May 1st were held in central Athens on Sunday, organised by the trade union organisations, in Klafthmonos Square and Syntagma Square.
Large crowds gathered in Klafthmonos Square early on Sunday, for the rally organised by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the civil servants’ union federation ADEDY and the Athens Labour Centre, to support the unions’ demands for steady work, a return of collective labour agreements and an even higher increase in the basic wage.
ADEDY President Dimitris Bratis, attending the event, noted that the demands on the 136th anniversary since the Chicago workers’ strike were the same for all households, which demanded higher wages, cheaper prices for electricity and fuel and lower VAT on food, so that they can make ends meet.
“Today they are being deprived of rights won by workers 136 years ago through struggles and sacrifices, such as the eight-hour day, collective agreements and the right to strike. Workers in the public sector for 12 years now have seen no increase in their pay but are also exempted from what little is given, such as the solidarity contribution or the minimum wage. A graduate teacher is currently hired and paid 680 euros [a month]. The government is obliged to take measures and today’s rally is part of the struggles that we will continue to have in the future for our rights,” he added.
A second major rally organised by the PAME trade union group associated with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was held in Syntagma Square, which ended with a call to support strike action by COSCO workers at Piraeus port.
After the conclusion of the rallies, the city centre reopened for traffic.