Brussels: Protest against the crime at Tempi, Sunday March 12

We publish the call by the collective of Greeks living in Belgium, Grec.que.s solidaires de Belgique

The Greek people are reacting massively against the policies that led to the train accident that killed 57 people (passengers and workers) in #Greece. All over the country, students are leading huge demonstrations that the police are trying in vain to break up with violence. A #railway workers’ strike on 6 March has been turned into a national protest against the right-wing government.

A general #strike called in Greece on 8 March, when mobilisations were already planned for the international day of struggle for women’s rights, was a huge success with tens of thousands participating. The public sector union and others issued this call for strike action, in reaction to the deadly Tempi train accident and the neoliberal policies responsible for it. These policies have been applied for years and firmly followed by the current right-wing government which, a few days after the accident, has just introduced a bill for the #privatisation of water and that of a children’s hospital.

#actions of #solidarity to this #mobilisation have been organised over the last few days in #Brussels, #Paris, #Zurich and #Berlin. A series of coordinated actions are being prepared in several European cities over the weekend 11-12 March.

The Greek government has launched a propaganda campaign to persuade the public that the fatal train collision on 1 March in #Tempi was due to the “human error” of the station manager. However, the #railway unions had been trying to warn for a long time that the electronic control and signaling systems are not working and that everything is managed manually. They have organised several strikes to demand improved #safety and have seen several of their strikes banned by the courts as abusive, according to a law recently adopted by the current government. They have for long denounced that a fatal accident like this would happen sooner or later. Other accidents, fortunately without casualties, have also taken place recently.

The Greek governments of the last few years have precisely implemented a series of #neoliberal policies that have downgraded  public services and then, with the tutelage of #Troika, led to the privatisation of a large part of them. TrainOse, the rail transport company was transferred to the privatisation fund in 2013. The privatisation of the railways was precisely decided in 2014 by the right-wing tripartite government with the socialists and the company was finally privatised in 2017, under #Syriza government.

The Italian company that bought the profitable part of TrenOSE, like any private company, does not care about passengers’ safety or workers’ rights. It is only interested in its profits. At the same time, the ongoing austerity programmes have weakened the entire public administration, including the OSE, the public body managing the network.

OSE now has barely 700 staff, whereas according to its organisational chart it should have 2,500. The lack of functional signalling, remote control and automatic immobilisation systems is also due to budget cuts following austerity policies.

It is urgent that the right of all Greeks to #education, #health, #water, #energy and to safe and quality #transport is guaranteed, and that these services remain/revert to public control and are properly funded!

We stand in #solidarity with the families of the victims and demand #justice!

We demand safe and quality public services and transport! Our lives are worth more than their profits!

We support the general strike on 8 March in Greece! Together to defend women’s rights and the rights of all to a decent and safe life.

We respond to the pan-European call and participate in the actions. We call for a protest rally at the Greek Embassy in Brussels (rue des Petites Carmes 10, 1000 Brussels) this Sunday 12 March at 11am.

Come and join us!

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