Excerpts from the steelworkers leader George Sifonias…speaking at the gates of the Factory last Sunday.
Today we have entered 126days of strikes and we determined to continue more dynamically more united up until our demands are met. Those who believe they can terrorise us with injunctions, with sackings, with prosecutors and police are being fooled.
They live in the dark all those who believe we are going to return to fire and steel for 400 and 500 Euros. What the bosses are doing to us making us live with less than what they spend for their dogs and cats. We have said it before, for the steelworker there is no going back, we aint living with 400 Euros.
Manesis (owner) believes that he can terrorise us with threats that he will shut the factory, that he will disappoint us as he refuses to meet with us. On the one hand he threatens us with the closure of the factory and on the other with the aid of the coalition government aims plans to open a private port, wanting a licence to employ 420workers for 365days of the year.
On the one hand he remains indifferent and from the other he aims to set up a strikebreaking force, he produces statements which show panic and not indifference. He understands that it will be difficult for him to find steelworkers to sell out this heroic struggle.
A few co-workers who were conned by lies and sycophancy and turned them against the union now most of them declare openly they were deceived, that they trust the union, its decisions and its mass meetings .
We declare openly that he will find a steel wall to every splitting and terrorist attempts against us. We are united and decided to have those who were fired to return.
They are lost the coalition of ND and PASOK and their hangers on if they believe we will be fooled by the Minister of Employment “does not understand the licence of the Minister of Environment for the port and that he will call Manesis and ask him what he seeks on doing. Trying to deceive us stating, cancel the strike and then we will discuss the matters that you have placed on the table…
Government and Manesis, government and industry, bankers, shipowners, big wholesales, big construction firms are all planning deciding and implementing all the anti-working class measures. They are opposite us the Greek TUC, POEM (Greek sailors union) generally government tradeunions. They were also praying we kneel over. They are opposite us, they are our enemies, they don’t deceive us they don’t fool us. It is a government of the plutocracy, we will fight with tooth and nail for it to fall one hour early.
They didn’t achieve in forcing us to kneel, to collapse us. They are fooled if they think that they can deceive us and that they can con the workers that support them. That we will always have them round our necks. The Greek TUC doesn’t belong to the workers, it is an arm of the capitalists.
Comrades, workers, unemployed, self-employed young and old.
We learn very clearly that the struggle is now more decisive and more difficult phase. As long as the employers are being confronted they will become more fierce. The state will provide services with prosecutors, the police and the repressive measures.
Now we are as steelworkers more strong more organised and more astute. During the 126 days of strikes we have learnt a lot, the power of our strength the power of class unity for the stance and the tricks of the employers for all those who are coming near us for who is coming to aid us and who to attack us.
We brought to the fore the worth of collective struggle, the power of united class struggle the power and the strength of workers solidarity. The steel, disciplined vanguard characteristics of the industrial worker.
We showed the two worlds, that of Manesis and his class, and the steelworkers and their class, where we have nothing in common, no common interest.
Now though we need bigger support and solidarity. We now believe that they are creating better conditions so as to light the fire of Steelworkers so the whole of Greece becomes a Steelworkers cauldron. Now the things are more simple. We either agree to rise up or decide to live on 300 Euros a month and get a pension of 70, to become slaves of the 21st century.
We call all the workers, the young to follow our example and rise up. To transform every place of work into a field of battle. To not allo the anti-working class measures to pass. To support our contracts, to demand pay rises. To continue until we take control everything that belongs to us”
This strike ended in defeat after all the factories weren't shut down in particular the Volos factory. This was blocked by the KKE leadership which didn't wan to be accused of racism as a majority of the employees there were immigrants.