September 17, 2013
We stand in solidarity with OLME, the secondary education teachers union in Greece, which has launched a five–day rolling strike as of September 16th, following the decision of the teachers’ general assemblies. At the end of each five-day strike the teachers’ general assemblies will take stock of the situation and then decide on the course of the strike action.
Teachers here in the United States face a similar assault, with teacher layoffs, school closings, and relentless testing of students which serves to justify attacks on teachers rather than actually supporting and improving education.
In addition, we stand in solidarity with the many other public employees in Greece who are also going on strike to resist brutal government-imposed austerity measures, including staff at the social insurance funds, the state employment agency and labor ministry, and hospital workers.
The situation in public schools in Greece is dramatic. The “Troika” (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank) and the cooperating Greek government of Samaras (New Democracy) and Venizelos (PASOK), using the economic crisis as a pretext, and without any communication with the interested parties, have taken a series of harsh measures such as
• 20% reduction of the number of teachers in secondary education since June 2013.
• Closing down of 102 Vocational Education Schools
• Suspension and possible dismissal of 2,500 Vocational Education Teachers
• 47% reduction of spending on education by 2016 compared to 2008
• compulsory transfer of 5,000 teachers to primary education and administration posts
These measures aim at privatizing part of vocational education, introducing apprenticeship as a form of minor/under-age employment replacing education process and at establishing a harsh, examination-centered system in all forms/grades of upper secondary education, forcing students to seek private tuition outside school and leading to school dropouts.
We support the striking teachers in Greece and demand that public education not be sacrificed to comply with the wishes of the “Troika.” The Greek teachers and the Greek people do not stand alone in this struggle. This struggle is not just for public education but also for workers dignity, civil rights and liberty and true democracy itself here in the United States and around the world.
To add your name now, please go to http://www.change.org/petitions/support-striking-greek-teachers
NOTE: OLME intends to create a Solidarity Fund to support teachers in strike. You can contact OLME (@OLMEGR) at the details below:
OLME-GREEK FEDERATION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION STATE SCHOOL TEACHERS
2, Kornarou & Ermou Str., Athens (10563), GREECE
Tel: 0030 210 3230073-3221255 Fax: 0030 210 3311338-3227382 www.olme.gr
E-mail: [email protected], and [email protected]