At our meeting of 15th March 2023, The Trades Council agreed the following motion:
On the 28th of February in Tempi, Greece, a fatal train collision left 57 dead, most of them university students, and many more injured. The privatised Greek Railway have been operating passenger services for many years with NO SIGNALLING SYSTEM, with systems being inoperable due to cost cutting.
We, the members of the South Cambs EMS Sector Unite Branch representing workers and staff in our sector in Cambridge, express our solidarity to the people of Greece, the railway workers, the trade and student unions and the youth who mobilise and participate to the General Strike (across Greece and in all sectors) on 16th March against this prescribed crime. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
We would like to bring the motion to TUC Cambridge to consider a vote for solidarity to the Greek Unions participating in the marches and strikes.
Background to the motion.
Our dead, their profits
The accident took place 5 years after the privatization of Greek Railways following successive governments of different, stated “political orientation” (social democrats, right wing and so-call “progressive”), all sharing the same “vision” for a privatised rail network. The Italian operator “Ferrovie dello Stato” took over the entire national network for a mere 45 million euros, being subsidised by 50 million every year.
Constant press releases, warnings and appeals by the railway unionists have been ignored by management, successive governments and the media, while courts have been declaring many rail strikes illegal, forcing staff to get back to work amidst the crumbling infrastructure. Union members of DESK (a front that is supported by PAME, the militant class-orientated trade union front in Greece) had warned about an upcoming major accident on the 7th of February this year, once again being ignored by both the government and the train company management.
The majority of the British media make no mention that a private operator has been happily operating trains without a signalling system, because it had been more profitable not to maintain it, pocketing the savings with one hand, grabbing subsidies with the other. They are well aware that merely stating these facts, would lead to conclusions regarding privatisation in Britain being equally dangerous, as we have seen time and again on the British railways, the NHS and elsewhere. It would reveal that the governments prioritise the profits of the monopolies against our needs and lives; that governments and privatised sectors see public and workers’ safety as a cost, all over the world.
We express our solidarity with our striking Greek colleagues and students. Justice for the victims’ families, is fighting against the deadly privatisation policies everywhere.