A press briefing by the protesting workers at Malamatina Winery. (Photo: via 902.gr)
Support and solidarity has been pouring in for workers of the Malamatina Winery in Thessaloniki, Greece, who have been protesting against the dismissal of several of their compatriots and demanding a collective agreement from the employer. On Wednesday, August 24, cadres from the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) and the Federation of Greek Women (OGE), among others, visited the protesting workers at Thessaloniki and expressed their support. Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), also expressed his solidarity with the workers. Nikolaou-Alavanos has submitted a written petition to the European Commission seeking intervention to prevent the implementation of anti-worker policies in Greece and EU-dictated labor reforms. The All Workers Militant Front of Greece (PAME) had earlier also expressed solidarity with the workers at Malamatina.
The workers of the Malamatina Winery plant in Thessaloniki have been waging a militant strike for the last four weeks, demanding that the employer sign a collective labor agreement and reinstate 15 employees who were dismissed by the management. According to reports, the management has tried to intimidate the protesting workers with repression and court action, as well as with the arrest of their leaders.
The workers accuse the management of using the anti-worker labor law brought in by Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis of the conservative New Democracy (ND) government to subdue workers’ rights.
Nikolaou-Alavanos said that “the employer of Malamatina is attempting the mass dismissal of organized workers in order.. hire in their place workers with flexible forms of employment, individual contracts and hunger wages, citing the Hatzidakis law of New Democracy (ND) which is based on the reactionary so-called “European Pillar of Social Rights” and the anti-labor directives of the EU.”
He added that “armed with EU legislation, the Greek government and the employers generalize the dissolution of collective agreements, increasing unpaid working time, imposing the abolition of the Sunday holiday, and restricting trade union action and the right of workers to strike.”
On August 22, in a landmark verdict on labor disputes, a Greek court in Kavala canceled the dismissal of 133 employees of Kavala Fertilizers, where the management had used anti-labor and anti-union provisions of the Hatzidakis law to dismiss the workers.