Greek trade unionists honored International Labor Day with rallies in central Athens, gathering at Klafthmonos and Syntagma Squares on Sunday, May 1st.
Greece’s largest private-sector union, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), had called its member organizations on a 24-hour strike and rally, also joined by the civil servants’ union federation ADEDY and the Athens Labour Centre.
More Labor Day rallies took place across Greece, organized by the regional units of trade unions.
Labor Day honored across Greece
Workers called for a steady 8-hour work day, a return of collective labor agreements, and an even higher increase in the basic wage, as well as for lower prices on fuel and electricity.
In its declaration for May 1, 2022, ADEDY accused the Greek government of dissolving the three pillars of the welfare state, namely health, education, and social security, and of intensifying authoritarianism and repression.
A Labor Day announcement by PAME, which is the affiliated union of the Communist Party of Greece, demanded further pay raises, stressing that those recently implemented by the government are falling “far short of the current needs of employees, and even short of the inflation rates which are now approaching double digits.”
PAME’s rally ended with a call to support the continuing strike action by COSCO workers at Piraeus port.
In Thessaloniki, rallying workers symbolically reenacted the procession of the first dead of Chicago’s historical protests in May 1936, which had inspired Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos to write his iconic work, the “Epitaph.”
Traffic and commute disruption
Commute was disrupted in Athens until the early afternoon as roads around the city center remained closed to traffic while workers rallied.
Bus and trolley services started with a 4-hour delay at 9 a.m. and will be withdrawing around 8 p.m., as a result of the drivers’ work stoppage for Labor Day.
All metro and tram lines will remain out of service on May 1st to be resumed early the following morning.
Since Monday, May 2nd has been declared a national holiday, as a result of the May 1st Labor Day holiday which falls on a Sunday this year, all public transportation will operate on a national holiday instead of a weekday schedule.
Inter-city trains also ran on reduced schedules on Sunday while ships and ferries of all categories remained docked at ports.