Greece: Reportback from protest in downtown Athens against the “White Night” on December 28th, 2013

Liberalization of shop opening hours, work on Sundays; they’ve stretched our whole life to the limit… Workers’ interests come first!

They speak of gains and losses — We speak of human lives
Luxury display windows — Unpaid workers

On Saturday evening, December 28, 2013 the Attica base union of workers in the book–paper sector together with colleagues from the commerce sector and other labour sectors, alongside members of trade unions, workers’ and unemployed people’s collectives, and neighbourhood assemblies, carried out a series of interventions in the city centre of Athens against the “White Night” and the extension of shopping hours until 11pm(!), conditions imposed on workers in retail stores by the mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, and the bosses.

At 7pm, more than 300 protesters gathered outside the ‘Public’ department store in Syntagma Square carrying banners, shouting slogans and distributing texts. Later, participants held a large and lively demonstration along Ermou Street, the major commercial road downtown. Then they moved through Aiolou Street, passed from the old city hall at Kotzia Square, and marched to Stadiou Street and then on to Panepistimiou Street, where they concentrated at the entrance of major bookstores (‘Ianos Bazaar’, ‘Ianos’, ‘Eleftheroudakis’ and ‘Papasotiriou’) which remained open in the context of Athens “White Night”. During all these interventions, demonstrators from the Attica base union of workers in the book–paper sector threw fliers and pasted posters reading “Shops as in White Prison Cells? No Thank You!”

Some of the many slogans chanted along the entire route were:

“You don’t lack the hours to shop; you lack the money and hours to live”

“Never work on a night or a Sunday; we’re better off without becoming competitive”

“The ministers, the mayor and the bosses can work Sundays and nights, for all we care”

“Flexible working hours, Sunday jobs; they’ve made our whole life fully stretched”

“Flexible working hours, unpaid work; terrorism, in one word”

“If we do not resist in every store, we will all become slaves for a bit of bread”

“Worker, there’s only one way to win; organization and resistance in workplaces”

“Luxury display windows; unpaid workers…”

Everything continues…

source/more photos: bookworker