The financial crisis has transformed itself into a generalized attack on labour rights. The neo-liberalforces have managed to make use of the crisis as an opportunity for their aggressive plans. We are now facing a generalized deregulation of labour relations; a wealth and power redistribution process in favor of capital and against labour.
In order to tackle the root cause of the problem, we need to understand a basic contradiction: The contradiction between the enormous amounts of wealth produced by today’s societies and the rise of inequalities. In our point of view, getting out of the crisis entailsreducing these inequalities and reversing the policies of labour devaluation, in a word, redistributing power and wealth in favor of the labour.
In Greece, the neoliberal policies have managed to destroy labour rights. The numbers illustrating the current situation show the magnitude of the problem. The abolition of collective bargaining led to wage cuts of up to 40%. Nearly one in three workers in the private sector is paid a net salary of 300 euros (up to 440 euros gross), being engaged in flexible forms of employment (part-time and outsourced employment, job rotation, etc.).
To this day, the salary received by 45% of employees is below the 751 eurothat was the minimum wage limit before the violent reduction of minimum wages by law. By 2012 this figure was only 17% including the full-time minimum wages and part-time employment. There are estimates according to which workers involved in“black” / undeclaredemployment,add up to several hundred thousand. In general, labour violations have increased in immeasurable levels, making compliance of businesses with the labour law an exception.At the same time, a high percentage of workers in the private sector, are paid with up to twelve months delay, while the number of the unemployed reaches 1.5 million.
Facing a situation like this, we are not looking for the knight in shining armor coming to the rescue. We know that our dignity can only be earned through social struggles and organization. We fight to restore the right to collective labour agreements, so that workers can organize and claim a life in dignity;to eliminate all regulations dictated by the memorandum concerning collective agreements andarbitration proceduresthat opened the door to a generalized deregulation of wages 80% of which is a result of individual contracts. Depriving a country from its right to establish collective bargaining touches uponan issuethat concerns all European workers: that of democracy itself. The coup of the Institutions must be reversed. The fight of the Greek workers for collective labour agreements is a fight common to all European workers for decent work, laborrights and a life of dignity.