Previewing Tomorrow's First Greek General Strike Of 2013
Today was one of those rare days when there were no media reports describing in gruesome detail what another 24 hours in the complete social de-evolution of Greece looks like. The reason for that is that the Greek media and journalists decided to hold their first all day general strike today, which in turn happens to be in advance of tomorrow's first for 2013 general Greek strike. The journalists’ union ESIEA decided to hold the strike in solidarity with the 24-hour action called by GSEE and ADEDY, but wanted to ensure there was media coverage of the protest planned for Wednesday. So what will happen tomorrow? To a big extent, just more of the same: "State services will grind to a halt Wednesday and public transport will be disrupted in Athens as workers join a 24-hour general strike called by the country’s two main labor unions." And whereas the neo-(or paleo) Keynesians out there can spin any natural disaster as GDP accretive, not even they can transform the complete stop of all "constructive" activity as somehow benefiting Greek GDP. Furthermore, with no improvements in the Greek macroeconomic picture whatsoever, one can be assured that tomorrow's general strike is merely the first of many, now that the weather is warm enough to hold posters and slogans in broad daylight.
Transport workers will run a limited service Wednesday so that people can attend protest rallies planned for the city center. Commuters will get a taste of the upheaval from Tuesday when trolley bus employees are to stage a five-hour walkout from 11 a.m. On Wednesday, buses and trolley buses will run between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Staff on the Athens metro, tram and the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) are to decide Tuesday on Wednesday’s action.
There will be no trains running nor ferries sailing Wednesday as employees of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and the country’s seamen walk off the job. The Proastiakos suburban railway will also halt its services Wednesday.
As is usual on general strike days, tax offices and municipal services will be closed to the public as employees are expected to join the action en masse. Hospitals will be operating on skeleton staff and schools will close as doctors and teachers join the action.
Lawyers, engineers and construction workers, whose sector has been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis, are expected to join the action Wednesday too.
The BBC adds:
Union leaders say they are angry at the job cuts and tax rises being demanded by Greece's international lenders.
"The (strike) is our answer to the dead-end policies that have squeezed the life out of workers, impoverished society and plunged the economy into recession and crisis," the private sector union GSEE said in a statement.
"Our struggle will continue for as long as these policies are implemented," it said.
The union is organising the walkout with public sector union Adedy.
Several marches are due to culminate in protests outside parliament in Syntagma square, Athens, where violent clashes have broken out on previous occasions.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's eight-month-old government has taken a tough line on strikers, invoking emergency law twice this year to order seamen and metro staff back to work.
But despite such measures, strikes have recently picked up.
A one-day visit by French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday went largely unreported because Greek journalists downed tools.
Our correspondent says more than 20 general strikes since the crisis erupted have failed to halt austerity - and this one is unlikely to be any different.
Well they sure can keep on trying. And since the journalists prudently striked (or is that stroke?) preemptively, tomorrow's protests will be widely covered, and should generate enough headlines to send the S&P500 at least another 10 points higher.