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Dock workers go on strike following the death of their colleague, demanding safety measures in the workplace

On 27 October, the dock workers in piers I and II of the Piraeus Container Terminal decided to go on a 24-hour strike for a second consecutive day, escalating their struggle for the implementation and observance of all necessary safety measures in the workplace. and demanding that the emblematic hellhole of the COSCO Chinese monopoly stops being a death trap for workers.

The strike started after the death of a 45-year old worker on the evening of Monday 25 October, when a gantry crane cut him in two.

Before the worker’s blood dried up, the company made it clear that it does not care about the protection of workers’ lives, based on the reactionary “pro-investment” legal framework consecutively formed by the governments of Greek bourgeois parties, both of the liberal right-wing ND government and the previous social-democratic “left-wing” SYRIZA one. These laws trample on workers’ rights.

Dock workers demand a collective agreement, safety measures, and new recruitments  so that the intensification of labour stops. However, the employers made it clear that workers are dispensable in order for the company to continue earning profits. It is characteristic that in the first semester of 2021, its turnover accounted for € 72 million, showing an  8,3% increase on the previous year, while its profits in this past semester reached € 20,84 million!

Diamanto Manolakou, member of the CC of the KKE and MP, as well as a number of  trade union organizations, such as the Trade Union of Metalworkers of Attica and Workers in the Shipbuilding Industry, the Labour Centre of Piraeus, and other trade unions and mass organizations went to the port to show their support to the port workers.

In a statement, All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) expressed its solidarity with the dock workers’ struggle and, among other things, noted the following: “This hell for the workers, the modern Dark Ages experienced in the ghetto of the company to which governments handed over the entire Piraeus Port, once again proves that the profits, investments, and development of business groups are soaked in workers’ blood. This jungle of intensification of labour, of work from dusk till dawn for a pittance, of unpaid overtime, of the absence of safety measures to protect the life and health of workers and of control mechanisms, is legitimized by the Chatzidakis law, i.e. the recent anti-labour law voted in the Greek Parliament. PAME demands that  those responsible for the crime will be held accountable. It also demands that the necessary measures to protect the life, health and safety of workers are taken at COSCO piers and in every workplace.”