On Sunday, trade unionists of GENOP-DEI, the union of the Public Power Corporation, occupied the building issuing the electricity disconnection orders for households that have failed to pay their bills. As of a few weeks ago, the latest bills now include the latest property tax imposed by the government, typically including hundreds of euros per property, making payment for thousands a non-option. The statement by GENOP-DEI follows.
from the first day when the Papandreou government announced that it would turn DEI [the Public Power Corporation] from a servant of the people into a tax collector, that it would use the public good of Electricity as a blackmailing leverage against the poor and the unemployed, we used the most clear terms to denounce this unacceptable decision. With an emergency press conference on September 16th, 2011 we showed the tragic consequences this measure would have not only upon society but also upon DEI itself.
Because for us, the role of the trade unionist cannot be detached from what happens in society.
Because for us syndicalism is a holy cause, we made clear from the first instance that we will use all our powers and with the greek society as ally and forefront to block this unacceptable and criminal decision.
More specifically, at this press conference we had said that in our struggle we would intervene at three stages in order to cancel out this unacceptable decision.
The first stage: to block the bills with the emergency tax from being posted out.
The second stage: in the case that we did not succeed at the first stage, to block all the disconnection orders from reaching all those who cannot afford to pay the emergency tax.
The third and main stage would be that with our bodies, our physical presence, giving a man-to-man struggle in the streets and in the neighbourhood of the entire country we will prevent the electricity from being disconnected from the households of impoverished co-humans of ours.
Concerning the last point, we can today announce that in tens of cities across the country, patrolling groups [have been set up] in co-ordination with labour centres, unions, the local municipalities, social organisations, citizen unions, and wherever they do not exist yet, this is only a matter of days.
Being consistent with what we had said, on October 13 we attempted to block the posting out of the electricity bills. At that time, the management found alternative solutions.
Today, November 20th and despite the ferocious attack we received from the lackeys of the system, one day before the disconnection orders are mailed out, we are are here, at the only point where disconnection orders are mailed out, to the entire country.
We are here because the role of DEI is not that of the tax-collector.
We are here because the public good of electricity cannot be used as a blackmailing leverage.
We are here because those who voted in this despicable law did not even bother to think “but how will the unemployed possibly pay? Will we also cut off their electricity?”
We are here because we refuse to become inhuman murderers of small children and of the sick
We are here because for us no co-human of ours is in abundance
We are here because there is still blood running through our veins
We are here, because humans and their needs are above the markers
We are here to blockade the disconnection orders for the public good of Electricity, without which lives are endangered and no-one can live.
Finally, we are here because we do not want to be ashamed tomorrow.
We will not throw our pride and dignity down the drain.