by Mike Tolochko
"ALL WORKERS MILITANT FRONT"
That is the slogan on the cards and building home to the PAME, the leading trade union federation in Greece. PA interviewed George Perros, its Executive Secreteriat member.
PA: What are the main initiatives of PAME in the current period?
GP: Our labor federation is very actively involved in coordinating trade union activities in Greece. Our method of work is actions and struggles! Right now our focus is with young workers and immigrant workers. We are actively oppositng our government's anti-worker programs which cut back on workers rights and attempt to follow the anti worker dictates of the European Union.
We are, everyday, protecting the social security rights of all Greek workers. We fight for a stable working situation; against the privatization being driven by the European Union and forces present here in Greece. Protecting and improving the health, education and lives or workers is our priority.
PA: Is there another labor federation in Greece?
GP Yes! You might want to visualize two sides of trade union struggles. On the one side is PAME which struggles all the time for workers rights against employers dictates. On the other side is a labor federation which subjugates itself to the dictates of the Greek government.
PA: What is the size of PAME?
GP: PAME has approximately 600,000 members. We have been bringing more workers into PAME over the past months.
PA: You indicated a strong interest in international solidarity. Can you describe this?
GP Yes, international solidarity is a major focus of our work. We are directly affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions and agrees with its militant actions and solidarity initiatives. For example, this Saturday, we will be having a special all day meeting with South African Trade unions. In this meeting we will be focusing on the issue of immigration; specifically the immigration of African workers to Europe and Greece.
Also, PAME is hosting displaced Palestinian children due to the very difficult situation in their country. Also, on September 25th a delegation from PAME and Greek workers will be going to Syria/Lebonen; about 130 will be in that delegation.
PA: What are your areas of trade union priorities?
GP: We are focusing on transportation and the dangerous privatization taking place in the airlines and railroads. Unions in the United States interested in solidarity work around those industrial concentrations are invited to email us and join the struggle. Our email is: firstname.lastname@example.org; and our website is: www.pamehellas.gr
Joining Perros at the interview was George Pontikos.
PA: Are you familiar with the struggles of US unions?
GPontikos Yes, in fact, I've read the great history of the US unions, Labor's Untold Story. It was translated into Greek. I also am familiar with the great trade unionist William Z Foster. His writings are of particular important to our trade union in the current tubulant period.
PA: Thank you both: George Perros and George Pontikos; and we will see you at Sarturday's all day meeting with South African trade unionists.