Industrial disputes do not get much worse than this. The workers at the Hellenic Halyvourgia Steel Plant have been on strike for more than 200 days.
Yorgos Sifonios is President of the Worker’s Union. He showed VOA letters of solidarity from unions across the world.
“The union has undertaken collective action which has roused the whole of Greece’s working class. Our strike is becoming a landmark, a model of how all workers must fight.”
The factory’s owner laid off 50 workers last year blaming falling demand. The company declined an interview.
The workers say production was actually increasing. Among those on the picket line, is Panayiotis Papanikolaou who has worked in the factory for more than 20 years.
“Right now, I think most of the workers will support and vote for Syriza, not PASOK or new Democracy, because Syriza supports the workers.”
Greek unemployment hit a record 21.7% in February. More than half of young people have no job.
Alex Tsipras, the 37 year old leader of the Syriza Party has vowed to cancel the austerity program insisted on by the European Union in return for financial bailouts.
Results from Friday, the last day of polling before the Jun 17th election, shows Syriza and New Democracy which supports the bailout, each holding around 26%.
Anastasios Georgiadis is Director of KAPA Research, which carried out the poll:
“Based on today’s information, there will be no easier to form a government than that was on May 7th.”
Analysts say the economic crisis has polarized Greek politics.
Nikos Christodoulou from Merit Securities says the markets would punish a Syriza victory:
“The market wants a more pro-European government which would implement reforms and wouldn’t attack the bailout agreement.”
Athens’ residents flocked to the beach Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the sun and try to forget about the crisis. In less than 2 weeks, they return to the polls, knowing another economic storm could soon follow.