The Curse Of Employers – Government Controlled Trade Unionism
The debate preceding the general assemblies and boards of trade unions highlighted many problems with the new situation that has developed in workers’ lives, thinking about where things and the movement itself are going. The degree of working class organization is very low. The majority of young people, immigrants, women, work under the worst conditions possible, constantly changing jobs, and being unemployed for large periods of time. They do not participate in unions having a bad opinion about them. Active participation in trade unions is also in a bad situation
The damage of government employers’ trade unionism, the forces of the social democrats, liberals and opportunists in the unions, and their transformations is great. The wound they have caused to the body of the trade union movement is deep, it cannot be closed easily. Their prevalence in strategic areas in the big unions of industry, energy, telecommunications, ports, transport, formerstate enterprises, is a major obstacle to the unity of workers and the class orientation of the struggle. They still refuse to enroll in their unions thousands contractors, workers with fixed term contracts, underpaid workers of outsourcing/slave-trade offices that work in the same factory, office, area.
The keep the new shift of workers unorganized. The difficulties we encountered in organizing workers are many. All these years the forces of employers’ controlled unions formed common fronts, they all hold an attitude against PAME in large federations and unions where they can see that steps are made to change correlations. They maintain correlations, by formatting mechanisms together with the employers and the state. This recently became obvious with the most notable example of the largest labor center of the country, the Labour Centre of Athens where they appointed their own administration through the Justice Dept, eliminating the elected one and the decisions of the Unions Congress. All these are accompanied by phenomena of corruption, squandering millions of funds and programs such as the Labour Centre of Lamia, Chania and elsewhere, and redemption. Correlations in GSEE ADEDY unions, their strategy and their work resulted in the depreciation of trade unions in workers’ consciences.
For the entire period in the crisis they have not hesitated to adopt even the slogan “no political parties, no trade unions in the struggle” which they threw together with bourgeois forces and was finally adopted by SYRIZA and its components, the forces of ANTARSYA, other opportunist forces, the fascists of Golden Dawn in the actions of the “indignants” that tried to trap popular indignation and protest, to promote Nazism and brought another blow to the importance of participation and struggle within the trade unions and the struggle in the factories, in the workplaces where employers and exploitation thrive. They promoted the theory of struggle, outside workplaces which supposedly attracts workers who are afraid of losing their jobs.
The transformation of their strategy was huge. At the beginning of the crisis they openly prevented strikes claiming, that “strikes in the crisis are madness”. Then they changed their tactics and called for strikes without a plan, unprepared and scattered ones, with a subordination context, thus undermining escalation and disappointment. They aimed to defuse moods. Recently, during the meeting for the new trade union legislation, GSEE reproduced the same things and went even further: to adapt trade unions to the new conditions, namely compromise and obedience, for the futility of strikes at a national level, for new social partnershipat European level.
We all understand how much worse the situation would be today without PAME. It was this very need to rid trade unions controlled by the employers that gave birth to PAME. The unions participating in the class front fought hard battles and became a shining example. As the unions of Employees in Local Administration OTA, that accepted thousands of outsourcing and fixed term contract workers as members. They gave them the right to speak at general assemblies and the right to decide on the administrations of union. The government employers’ controlled Federation, eliminated 18 trade unions out of OTA because they refused to erase from their members, workers who worked through outsourcing.
The class trade union of Evangelismos Hospital, first in the health sector, united all workers by enrolling contractors in the trade union, hundreds of fiercely exploited cleaning ladies and services workers and organizing common struggle of doctors, nurses and patients. Similarly, sectoral unions of energy, metal, telecommunications, and finance are rallied inPAME.