The case of the lawsuit for slander by right-wing trade-unionist Th. Karampampas against our comrade Dionysis Christopoulos (currently president of the Philharmonic of the Municipality of Athens workers’ union) was judged on March 30.
Dionysis Christopoulos was acquitted emphatically! This verdict was an important victory in the struggle against the intimidation attempts by the apparatus of the right-wing trade union caucus DAKE (linked to the governing New Democracy party), in the workplaces of the Municipality of Athens. It was also a show of workers’ solidarity.
Dozens of workers and trade unionists from the Municipality of Athens, as well as from other workplaces were present at the Court in solidarity with Dionysis. Municipal councillors N. Sofianos of the Greek Communist Party and P. Kefallinos and P. Konstantinou of the anticapitalist alliance ANTARSYA also stood by his side.
In addition to the support on the day of the trial, workers and trade unions had made proof of their solidarity earlier, with their financial contributions to the solidarity fund which covered the full costs of the trial.
This is the only way for the movement to stand up against threats and intimidation in the trade unions. A militant and unyielding attitude on the persecuted persons’ side, together with solidarity and material support on the workers’ side. Attacks against the trade unions and other kinds of persecution in the workplace are not an individual matter, they always concern the whole movement.
The persecution’s timeline
On March 23, 2017, elections were held for the workers’ representative to the Culture, Sports and Youth Board of Directors of the Municipality of Athens (OPANDA). D. Christopoulos (a member of Xekinima) and A. Stephanopoulos (representing the right-wing trade union DAKE) were candidates. A. Stephanopoulos was declared winner, a margin of only one vote (302 – 301). A member of the election oversight committee, though, spotted irregularities in the voting procedure; Mr Christopoulos’ votes were considered null on the ground of the sign the voter had used to mark their preference; at the same time Mr Stephanopoulos’ ballot papers on which the same mark was used, were considered valid.
This member of the election committee placed a written complaint for the above issue, but this was not taken into account by Th. Karampampas and the other members of the election committee, the vast majority of which consisted of DAKE members; therefore, the election result was considered valid. Right after this, D. Christopoulos requested that the votes be recounted, on the grounds of the marginal result and of the specific complaint. Yet, the election committee refused to do so, despite the recommendations of the President of the Organisation, Mr. K. Bitzanis.
Under these circumstances, namely the election committee’s refusal to recount the votes, despite a specific written complaint on irregularities in the election process, and the marginal result, D. Christopoulos issued a statement in order to inform workers about the facts.
In addition to the overall assessment of the election result, D. Christopoulos also made reference to the complaints of one member of the election committee and the refusal of the other members to recount the votes.
On the basis of this statement, Th. Karampampas filed a complaint for slander against D. Christopoulos.
In reality, this was yet another attempt to intimidate and silence trade union action and to obstruct information about facts happening in their workplace reaching workers. These efforts failed thanks to the movement’s reaction and solidarity. We will continue on the same track!