OPINION

Pulling the plug

Public Power Corporation (PPC) unionists (GENOP) have been insisting that if PPC and the electric power transmission system operator DESMHE cut off electricity to industries, consumers would not have to suffer from the lengthy power outages of the last week. One-hour or even half-hour cuts would be enough, they say, and they would not cause any social problems. But this is a misleading and populist claim in a bid to pass the buck onto others. At the same time, it is dangerous because it reveals a backward mind-set that endangers the country’s production base. There is no doubt that of the some 6,500-megawatt capacity left by the striking PPC unionists, industries only get some 800 megawatts, i.e. a bit more than 10 percent. Therefore, the alleged improvement would not in fact be that substantial. But even if it were, can we really be so offhand about shutting down our industries? Certainly there is no dilemma between serving an ill and weak elderly person or the operation of an industry. But this moral obligation is no excuse for the unionists. For it was they who, in an attempt to preserve their privileges, pushed the PPC management into the current deadlock. Big companies cannot just close down as if they were some small bar. They employ thousands of workers, many more than those appointed by the party of GENOP president Nikos Fotopoulos. First of all, PPC has made power deals with the big industries and would be forced to pay an enormous amount in compensation. Second, these industries produce wealth that is used to feed 250,000 staff as well as society, which benefits from collected taxes, and finally the social security funds. According to PPC economists, an eight-hour power cut to big industry (cement, mines, processed food) would equal a loss of 80 million euros in national income.