Nicos Anastasiadis, a teacher in northern Greece and a member of the socialist group DEA, talked to Solidarity.
The federation of secondary school teachers’ unions has decided to strike at the beginning of September. We believe that we can create a spark to persuade all other unions to strike too. We will strike together with students and their parents. We need each others’ support and we must all fight together.
The government is dissolving technical education in favour of private schools. They’ve sacked 2,656 teachers from technical schools, from 110 specialties. About 20,000 students are now obliged to go to private schools. Also, 2,200 school caretakers have been fired.
The 2,656 teachers have been put in redeployment on 75% salary for eight months, and then many of them will probably be fired. Similar things are being done all across the public sector.
When teachers go back to school on 2 September, we will organise meetings. Teachers have already reacted over the summer with demonstrations and meetings. Teachers and hospital workers marched on common demonstrations.
I believe that if the secondary school teachers strike, the primary school teachers will come with us.
All our strikes now have one goal – to overthrow the government. This needs a long strike from all or most of the Greek working class. The goal should not be small changes in the government’s policy. Without its overthrow the same problems will keep happening.
The government may try to “conscript” the teachers [put them under military discipline, so a strike is classed as desertion], and we must be ready to face this challenge.
Our goal should be the formation of a left-wing government. That would boost the self-confidence of the Greek working-class and be a step forward in the fight for socialism.