Worker conflicts stem flow of May Day march

Workers took part in demonstrations in Athens yesterday as part of international Labor Day celebrations against a backdrop of conflict arising among the country’s labor groups. GSEE, which represents about 2 million private sector workers, called off its march after a small group of workers affiliated with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) gathered outside GSEE’s offices and accused the umbrella group of failing to take proper action to support worker rights. «GSEE was created 90 years ago. Do we have to wait another 90 years before it does something?» said a pamphlet handed out by the protesters, who also threw eggs at GSEE’s offices. In response to the incident, GSEE officials called off their march in order to avoid trouble breaking out between its members and the SYRIZA-affiliated protesters. Meanwhile, some 10,000 people took part in the march organized by the Communist Party-affiliated PAME union to the US Embassy. With banners reading «1,400 euros basic wage; no to compromising,» protesters took part in a peaceful rally. Meanwhile, transport and public services in Greece ground to a halt. Ferry boats and intercity trains around the country were reduced to a minimum, all train connections to foreign destinations were canceled and state carrier Olympic Airlines carried out only one flight per destination. No newspapers were published, while radio and television stations operated on reduced staff, the main journalists’ union ESIEA said. In Athens, public offices and many private businesses stayed shut and part of the center was cordoned off ahead of demonstrations.