A 17 strong Greece Solidarity Campaign delegation visited Athens in mid October. Leading representatives of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, TSSA, Unite the Union, RMT, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, People’s Assembly, People’s Charter and a new Labour MEP joined GSC delegates on the 3 day visit.
The delegation visited a ‘Without Middleman Market’, the biggest hospital in Athens-Evangelismos, a Social Solidarity Centre supporting local families and a Social Solidarity Clinic providing free health care to the thousands with no health cover. The delegation had meetings with the sacked women cleaners camped outside the Finance Ministry for over a year ( see pictures above), the all Athens Committee of Social Solidarity Centres, Evangelismos hospital doctors, nurses and union convenor (see picture above), the public sector union ADEDY, the volunteer staff of Peristeri social solidarity clinic and the network Solidarity for All. We also met anti-austerity politicians – Syriza Leader Alexis Tsipras and Syriza MPs in Parliament and the recently elected regional governor and deputy governor of greater Athens – Attika.
‘‘On the one hand, we were shocked and appalled at the hardship and the hunger among ordinary people, and the diabolical conditions in the big central hospital now all primary care has been closed down. On the other, we were moved and inspired by the determined resistance to austerity measures, the impressively organised social solidarity initiatives and the programme of the anti austerity radical left Syriza MPs and Leader Alexis Tsipras who lead in the polls.’
See Manuel Cortes’s letter to all member of his union TSSA after the delegation visit here. A full report is being compiled and will be published shortly.
The delegation members:
Dr Louise Irvine (chair Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign), Pat Sakorski (Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign)
Manuel Cortes (TSSA General Secretary and GSC President), Geoff Revell (RMT) and his student grandson Elliot
Sarah Cook (UNITE head of Health for London and Eastern region), Danny Hoggan, (UNITE Greenwich Branch), Mary Usman (Unite Justice for Cleaners Branch)
Lesley Mercer (former Gen. Sec CSP and TUC President), Kim Gainsborough (CSP regional steward)
Brian Heron (People’s Assembly and People’s Charter), Mike Davis (The Chartist and GSC)
Lucy Anderson (new Labour MEP)
Greece Solidarity Campaign secretary Rachel Newton, co-chairs Paul Mackney and Isidoros Diakinides and treasurer Cherry Sewell.