April 10, 2022
Workers at the Greek train company TRAINOSE in Thessaloniki have forced bosses to back down after they refused to help transport NATO tanks from the port of Alexandroupoli to Ukraine. The following statement was originally written in Greek on April 5, 2022, ahead of the general strike which began the following day.
The combative and anti-imperialist position of these TRAINOSE workers, and the solidarity they received from various trade unions in Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia, are the reasons for this victory, and are an example for the whole European labor movement. . These events show that attempts by US and European imperialism to send deadly military equipment to Ukraine can be thwarted by the power of the working class.
The bosses spent two weeks trying to pressure engine room technicians from Thessaloniki to come to Alexandroupoli on April 2. There they went to work on trains carrying NATO tanks to the Ukrainian border, via Poland.
The workers, along with the 12 unions that have supported them, have rightly said that the transfer of military equipment via Greece to NATO members in Eastern Europe, from where it will inevitably be shipped to the Ukraine has the clear objective of strengthening the position of imperialism against Russia. The 12 unions announced their support in a statement (published April 5, 2022):
“Our country should not get involved in the war in Ukraine, which is being fought for the benefit of the few, at the expense of the many. Specifically, we demand that our country’s railway rolling stock not be used for the transfer of any US-NATO arsenal to neighboring countries.
We denounce the threats of TRAINOSE towards the employees who refused to participate in the maintenance of the trains that will transport the NATO tanks from the port of Alexandroupoli. It’s a joke when the employer says: ‘we don’t care what the trains carry, it’s your job and you have to do it’, or that ‘the company contract stipulates that the employee will act according to business requirements.
We, the railway workers, work to transport people and goods that can be used to meet the needs of society, NOT to be part of the country’s participation in dangerous business for the people, by transporting war material from the NATO out of Ukraine.
We will not become accomplices to the passage of the war machine over the territories of our country. True solidarity for the Ukrainian people today consists in the struggle for: Not using the railway for the transport of military equipment to foreign countries; Bring back to its base the trains used for this purpose; No threat to railway workers who refuse to consent to the transfer of NATO military equipment from our country.”
The right-wing New Democracy (ND) government actively supports the imperialist conflict in Ukraine, despite the peaceful and anti-imperialist sentiments of the Greek people. In addition to the thousands of weapons and missiles it sent to the NATO puppet government in Kyiv in early March, it often uses NATO bases in the country. The port of Alexandroupoli and Greek trains are used to transport munitions through Bulgaria and Romania to support the war in Ukraine.
At the same time, the Greek government decided to send four ASRAD/Hellas artillery and light anti-aircraft units, with 30 military personnel, to Bulgaria to participate in the formation of a NATO combat formation against Russia. And, of course, the Greek army participates in the NATO Response Force, which was created immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Workers confront the police and rescue a co-worker who has been detained
The act of disobedience by the TRAINOSE workers won the sympathy of broad sections of the working class. Even more unions and federations should openly and actively support these workers. The April 6 general strike must include demands from all these unions such as: “No to the retaliatory dismissals of TRAINOSE workers”, “No to NATO and its intervention in Ukraine” and “No to the participation of the Greece to imperialist regimes.
The example of TRAINOSE employees must be followed by all workers in Greece and Europe in railways, ports and airports! No to the facilitation of NATO killing machines and their role in the imperialist war in Ukraine!
*Source: socialist left