1 June 2012
Speaking through a translator Despina told of the terrible conditions ordinary people are currently facing in Greece where wages are down by 70% in some cases and social security is collapsing.
Watch her conference address
Colleagues, first of all I would like to thank you for your invitation. Thank you for giving us the opportunity once more to speak to you, because we are both under the same attack. In recent years both in Greece and other European countries, we are facing the worst attack in all levels, such as social rights, workers rights and contract rights. Capitalism goes through its worst crises and they are calling for the workers to pay for it. Greece has been the first target. And the results of the policies being implemented have been catastrophic. Wages have been reduced down as far as to 70% in some cases. And social security is collapsing. The state and the private sector is collapsing and every social benefit is collapsing as well. Unemployment rate has reached 22% and by the end of the year is expected to reach 25%. Deflation is up to 20% and we are going through a humanitarian crisis which we have never faced during peacetime. For instance we are experiencing situations only felt during war-times. All this happening because capital, in the name of the crisis, is trying to get back what the workers have managed to get over the last century and a half, all the rights they are just calling them back.
In Greece there are no workers rights anymore. There are no contracts valid any longer. As a result they are trying to return us to some form of slavery. Because these kinds of policies, this is the only target they have. So these in the debt crises, has an advantage to them and this is all false because instead of reducing the debt in Greece it is increasing. Therefore they have a different target, not just in Greece, but all over Europe. The unions in Greece they try to reply to these kinds of policies, respond to them. And we organise strikes and demonstrations which have never happened before, stronger than ever and we got more support than ever. General strikes which are including both the private and the public sector. Especially the strikes of May 2010 and June 2010. Also in October 2011 and in February 2012. There has been radical change in the political situation in our country. Unfortunately we were unable to organise together and have the strikes at the same time as the strikes in England, in France and in Spain. But we believe now is the time.
We can prepare ourselves very well and organise a general European strike.
(cheering and clapping)
Within 2012 in the next few months.
A historical strike! A response to the austerity policies of the European union. A response to the austerity attack that is trying to get all our gains back. We can manage it, we can achieve it. And I would like to close by saying that I strongly believe that we can really achieve the best, as long as we trust in ourselves. Long live the solidarity between peoples! Long live workers cooperation!