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Thousands protested in athens: HANDS OFF LARCO!

On 28/3/24, thousands of people and youth responded to the call of the trade unions of Athens and took part in a mobilization held by the workers of the large industrial unit of LARCO and their families in the centre of Athens.

LARCO is one of the most historic and largest heavy industries in Greece, 55.19% of which is owned by the Greek State, and employs around 1,200 permanent and contract workers. It has been active in the mining of mineral ores and the production of ferronickel alloy for over half a century. Ferronickel is the key element in the production of stainless steel and LARCO is a major supplier to the multinational giants of the world market. It is one of the five largest companies of its kind in the world. It is the only continuously operating smelting plant in the EU that produces ferronickel by processing of its own domestic ores. It covers 6% of the EU’s needs and 3% of the global needs. Its production is given as a raw material to the large European monopolies of stainless steel production, which is a product of multiple surplus value. It owns and exploits a huge area of public land (more than 100,000 hectares), where ferronickel deposits with a current value of around $ 20 billion can be found, while it owns a factory, three mines, a lignite mine, two private ports and two settlements.

People stayed in their region, in Larymna and the surrounding villages, because the factory provided a livelihood. Schools, services and shops continued to operate for this very reason. The whole wider area was affected by its operation. It is clear, therefore, that the development with the LARCO factory and the other facilities (e.g. mines) affects much more than the 1,200 workers, who are rightly concerned about their livelihoods.

For years, the government has been promoting a plan to sell the company, invoking international competition, the crisis and the fall in global nickel prices, which, combined with high debts, have made its operation less profitablethan before. It has also refused to renew the workers’ contracts,claiming that no private investors have shown interest in the company.

The workers, their families and the inhabitants of the regions of central Greece signalled an uprising against this development. The trade unions of Athens and other regions of Greece stood by them, while the KKE raised the issue in the Greek and the European Parliaments. From the floor of the parliament, the GS of the CC of the KKE, D. Koutsoumbas, called on the government not to proceed with the crime of closing LARCO.

After their meeting with government representatives at the Ministry of Finance and while thousands of workers from all over Attica, Central Greece and Evia demonstrated outside, the workers of LARCO won, through their struggle, the assurance that their contracts will be renewed until 12 May. The political pressure of the KKE and the actions of the trade unions have produced a first positive result. The struggle continues!