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The KKE and the class-oriented trade unions had warned about the dangers to train passengers’ safety

On Wednesday 8/3/23, the GS of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, speaking at the plenary session of the Parliament, referred to the tragedy in Tempe.

“A week after the tragedy in Tempe that claimed the lives of 57 people — mostly young people— we repeat what we said from the very first moment: It was not an accident, it was not bad luck, it was a crime that was bound to happen!

It is not only the mothers and fathers of these children who characterize this incident as a crime, but all of us. The workers, university and school students who have been on the streets for so many days and are demonstrating right now, are also talking about a crime. The thousands of students all over Greece are shouting that “This crime must not be covered up, let us be the voice of all the dead”!

Like every crime, this one too has causes and culprits. Your government is guilty, because when trade unionists, railway workers’ unions and KKE MPs in parliament denounced the poorly maintained network and the shortcomings and gaps in safety systems, personnel, and critical infrastructure such as signalling, you turned a deaf ear.

I would like to remind you the statement of the grouping of railway workers rallied in PAME, which also made a shocking prediction: ‘we will not wait for the accident to come to see them shedding crocodile tears while making ex post observations’. These words were written just 20 days before the tragedy in Tempe, on 7 February, and unfortunately they were confirmed. I wish they had not been confirmed.

Here, in the Plenary Session Hall, the KKE MP’s were the ones telling you that:

- the policy of underfunding over the years,

- the fragmentation of the railway into many pieces,

- the policy of liberalization based on EU guidelines,

- the privatization of the profitable part,

- this policy, of course, pursued by all the governments of recent years, has shaped the conditions for these tragedies as, within this framework, passenger safety is treated as a 'cost' both for the purely privatized parts of the railways and for those managed by the bourgeois state!

You completely disregarded all these —the administration of the state-owned OSE, the Italian company, and yourselves!

You know, this Italian company, which, according to the complaints, brought us the defective trains that were unwanted in Switzerland and promoted them as ultra-modern ones, was hiding for 5 days and couldn’t even inform us about the number of passengers on board! And now it is pretending to be magnanimous, because it will not make use of the possibility that you and the EU have provided it to exempt itself from the compensation! How generous of them!

You should be proud of your investors! You, gentlemen of the government, and you, gentlemen of SYRIZA, who sold them TRAINOSE for €45 million and then provided them with €50 million a year as a subsidy for the so-called unprofitable transport lines! What an irony. You even called the Athens-Thessaloniki line an unprofitable line!

Is this really not a serious enough scandal to spark off the debate between you, like so many others? This is a rhetorical question, of course. You have no sense of shame.

Therefore, you are all guilty, all governments so far. Don’t play ignorant. I'll just remind you of some of the important milestones of all your terms, because some of you talk as if you have amnesia. (...)

And since during the past days, you have been trying to acquit the EU and, of course, your own policy, we are telling you that this criminal policy of the EU does not make exceptions: In the EU in 2021, in one year alone, 1,389 major train accidents were recorded, with a total of 636 deaths and 513 injuries, of which 97 involved train collisions.

We have said it before, we will reiterate it, we will insist: Light must be shed on the case!

All responsibilities must be attributed so that we never witness such a crime again! Let there be no more children in the 21st century who will not respond to their mother’s message saying “text me when you get there”...

And the only way for this to happen and prevent you from attempting to cover up the case  in order for it to be forgotten, is the great struggles, the mass mobilizations that are taking place across the country.

We would like, once again, to salute the thousands of strikers from so many workplaces who are participating in today’s mobilization. We know that particularly the younger generation, university and school students, are filled with anger and indignation at what has happened. Because they understand that anyone could have been in the place of these children who lost their lives so unjustly.

We stand by your side! We fully support you with all our strength! We have a responsibility, all of us together, to become the voice of the dead!

The KKE is well aware of its share of responsibility and assumes it. We will do everything in our power to prevent the case from being covered up, to break the silence, to reveal the hypocrisy and propaganda to which we have been exposed for so many days now on our televisions and which has enraged us all!”