Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The monstrosity of the abolition of the last social security rights “passed”

Article from newspaper “Anasintaxi” issue 325-326, 1-31 July 2010, pp. 1-2

The working class, against workers’ patrons of every kind, has to answer decisively: without a united, massive, militant trade union movement in workplaces, without first-degree trade unions in firms, without the common struggle of the workers, the unemployed, and the immigrant workers, the absolute abjection cannot be confronted.

On 8th July whatever was left from the so-called “social security” was wiped out. It is a joke, to say the least, to speak of whether the bill was exactly in accordance to the “memorandum” and the demands of the triple occupation of Commission-ECB-IMF, or surpassed them. What is certain is that the essentially semi-colonial position that the country is in after its financial bankruptcy enables imperialists and their underlings to abolish even the most basic rights, which had been established through struggles, since it is the working class and the city and village poor that have been continually paying the destructive policy of those who, by stealing them continually and for years, are now burdening them with all the consequences of their crimes and looting.

The question is different: How this issue, which the capitalists had not been able to finish off completely all these years, despite multiple attempts, now passed with just a few “shots in the air?” How do a heavily hit working class and the numerous poor popular layers seem unable to express their anger in action and resist, turning despair into a force of punishment, and giving an answer to the robbers of their pains. How does another bill that leads to poverty and absolute abjection passes, without the whole country trembling from the workers’ militant reaction. Is it because of the heat? Of the fatigue because of demonstrations? Of the absence of transportation means? No more alibis…

Apart from the worker patrons of all kinds’ line of class collaboration, which prevented the workers from resisting to the great annihilating storm, there is also the absence (intense weakening) of the trade union movement, the fact that every worker, immigrant or local, unemployed, or half-employed, IS ALONE, without the inter-feeding of struggle to partial struggles giving strength and making I into WE. The fact that not only the “class unions.” but trade unions in general, are absent, and moreover the Khruschevite quasi-left (“K”KE), with its disruptive tactic makes the trade unions’ mess even more comfortable for the bosses, helps capitalists by hiding reality in the passing of all anti-worker measures, while it fails to articulate a discourse that will make workers realize the position they are in, perceive the priorities, fight in the context of concrete and elaborated political goals, so that the theories of “only-ways” are written off and the required in today’s condition militant OPTIMISM that takes and takes again people out in the streets more and more massively emerges.

This specific statute that was passed, surpassed all previous monstrosities: Giannitsis’s bill, Sprau Committee’s reports, Sioufas’s and Petralias’s bill, and so on. It enacted the pension right at 65 years of age with 40 years of work (with ridiculous regulations of mutual fulfillemt of the two unnatural limits and even more ridiculous transitional clauses), for both men and women, anticipating that the age limit might rise in the future due to the increase of life expectancy (!). All these in a country, which, according to its specific structure, those that are hit are not only the veteran toilers, who are not allowed to rest after their productive contribution, even for a few years. The working future of the youth is also hit, with the unemployment levels at 30%-35%, since this will render impossible their entry in the labour market, in conditions of extended recession. And of course, women are hit, who faced for years an “embargo” in relation to their entry in production, and today are paid 20% less for equal labour, and of course there is no provisional policy for aid concerning the bringing up of children and work at home. In order for the age and work limits to be secured, heavy penalties for reducing the pension wages at 6% each year, in the case of “early retirement,” are established.

Pensions, after the new measures of imposing taxation (LAFKA) on them at 3-9% when they are surpassing the “luxury limit” of 1400 euros (!), and after the 13th and 14th pension has already been abolished, have already suffered a decrease reaching 30%. With the imposition of the new mode of calculating pension (multiplying pension wages with a compensation percentage of 1.2%), the worker will merit 48% of the pensioned wage (40 years of work X 1.2%), having a decrease the class of 40% at least, since the overall work life will be calculated through the average salary during the complete work life duration (whereas until today it was calculated according to the last 5 years of work life). It is understood that due to the inflation, this average will be constantly adjusted. But even these pensions cease to be fully guaranteed – as it is constitutionally defined – by the state. A shameful allowance of 360 euros is defined as “basic pension,” when no readjustment rate is provide for it, and it remains as just that, a guaranteed pension, while in reality it will be given according to criteria of income. All subsidiary pensions, and whatever is mentioned as “compensative pension,” cease to be guaranteed (because of the “deficits” of the robbed security funds), and therefore, in the name of a real or by pretext financial circumstance, the workers’ money is in the air and it might not be given to them. Let capitalists and their political servants answer here: When for decades they placed the security funds’ reserves as investments to the Bank of Greece with a rate of interest at 1% and an overwhelming inflation (so that they return as free money back to the capitalists), when the same reserves were being gambled, in order for lootings to take place, in the stock market and structured bonds, had the state – which then guaranteed the pensions fully – ever compensated the insured workers?

The already essentially cut “hazardous” occupations are cut down conclusively at 10% of all professions, since a committee, which will define them unilaterally and irreversibly, is appointed from a zero basis. And we are talking about an abolition of the very few occupations that were left, when nurses are still not included, when workers at cleaning services at Organizations of Local Self-Government entered the list only 3 years ago after strikes of decades. As a result, at least 5-8 years of labour will be added in a great number of occupations that have significant grind and high danger.

The treatment of disabled insured people is being intensified, rather than being humanized. With the pretext of the “tweedlers” that bourgeois parties have been giving and will continue to give to the disabled, on the one hand all – even the obviously disabled from the beginning – are being submitted to re-examination through a central body, intensifying the disgrace of forcing people on wheelchair to be examined each year, to see if they “have been healed.” Furthermore, it is stated barefacedly that the criteria will be stricter, replacing medical conclusions with financial directives, and giving the signal: generally less pensions for the disabled.

In a racist crescendo against immigrant workers, instead of establishing the state’s obligation to grant them, when it is needed, a lawyer and translator to fight back the bureaucracy of pension-giving, a prerequisite of pension-receiving is set with the conditions of staying in Greece for 35 years, regardless of their age upon arriving to Greece and their age when they were registered in the social security bureau. There is no need to mention more about the meaning of this regulation.

We also choose not to mention other partial issues concerning the attack on widows’ pensions, the pensions of parents of heavily disabled children, for the list is endless. It is only worth mentioning that regarding the capitalists’ contribution evasion, the statute does not mention anything specific with a program and with a requirement of regulating the data that first and foremost torpedoed the social security system against the workers. It is a hoax as to how the only specific thing mentioned is the imposed of a pseudo-contribution on the part of civilians employing workers at domestic occupations (servants, gardeners, etc., as it is mentioned).

The specific security monstrosity “was passed earlier,” as the government-servant of the troika is boasting about. It was passed at the same time when the respective bill concerning labour has not been submitted, and yet is being implemented for months now, and with the de facto abolition of collective bargaining, as this was ratified with the “collective agreement” signed by the workers’ patrons and sellouts of GSEE, in an essentially full acceptance of all demands of the capitalists. The “class” paternalistic PAME condemned them in a verbalistic fashion, but only with words and until that point. PAME was reminded by the similar departmental work agreements it is signing when it controls Federations, the anti-worker policy the Khruschevite follows in “party businesses,” invoking the collective agreements in the work departments they belong to. And all workers’ patrons quiesced guiltily.

Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece (1918-55)

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