Log in
A+ A A-
latest youtube videos subscribe ORIGINAL
22ndannualcapital

Communist affilated unionists storm Labor Minister's office

Greek demonstrators,belonging to communist party aligned All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) stormed the country’s labor ministry and confronted the minister on Tuesday in protest at moves to restrict the right to strike, a condition set by international creditors in exchange for bailout funds.

Athens is set to introduce legislation which could limit the frequency of strikes in the country, infuriating labor unions which regard industrial action as sacrosanct.

Using crowbars, about 500 demonstrators of PAME prised open metal shutters of the labor ministry in central Athens, racing up to the eighth floor of the building where about 50 of them came face to face with Labor Minister Effie Achtsioglou.

As Reuters noted, the 32-year old minister is a staunch leftist in the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Visibly disturbed, Achtsioglou was silent as demonstrators shouted “shame on you” over legislation due to go to parliament this week.

“Take it back,” they shouted. One demonstrator in a loud tone reminded Achtsioglou that "blood has been shed for the right to strike." “I will not take it back,” she responded.

Her office was undamaged, but there was some damage to areas leading to her office.

Earlier, about 500 protesters had rallied outside the labor ministry, putting up a banner reading “Ministry of EU and IMF!” and chanting “We won’t yield to plutocracy!”

More protesters arrived as a group unfurled a huge banner that read “Hands off strikes, it’s a labor right!”, hanging it from the roof of the ministry on a busy street in central Athens.

The confrontation has been carried on in the media, with general secretary of the ministry Nefeloudis calling the incident "political hooliganism," on Athina984 FM, while communist party deputy Christos Katsotis returning the accusation and calling the government a tool of employers and plutocrats.

Greece’s leftist-led government was due to submit a bill with bailout-mandated reforms to parliament on Tuesday. The government has agreed to increase the quorum for unions to vote on a strike.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the reforms before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Jan 22, which will assess the country’s bailout progress as part of a review by its lenders.