A joint statement initiated by Earth Strike UK, IWW Environmental Committee and the Pan-Hellenic Energy Federation (PEF).

Διαβάστε τη δήλωση στα ελληνικά: www.earth-strike.co.uk/kavala-solidarity-greek

Kavala Oil, owned by London based Energean, owns and operates the only oil field in Greece. In April 2021, Energean announced a unilateral restructuring program which in mass layoffs with the intention to replacing highly skilled and experienced permanent workers with unskilled contract workers. Energean also announced €6 million cuts in workers’ salaries and allowances. All of this is despite company received €100 million of Covid relief funding from the European Union specifically to maintain employment during the pandemic.

In December 2021 the Greek State chose to side with the employer and sent riot police to attack the union workers, who remained at the facility to defend their jobs and ensure the safe operation of the site. Police dangerously used flash grenades at an oil facility – one of the grenades hit a power supply and caused a power cut at the site. Seventeen workers were arrested.

In January 2022, the workers went on work retention (a form of strike) against the insufficient safety measures taken by the company and against the mass layoffs. Despite the incredible effort of the union workers, the layoffs have continued and all 185 workers at the plant have now been dismissed, leaving the facility unstaffed.

The Union of Workers of Kavala Oil have continuously pointed out the dangers arising from the unacceptable decisions of Energean’s management, which lead to unsafe operation of the Facilities with impacts on employees and the local community as well as on the environment. Energean refused to listen.

The workers’ fears about safety proved to be well founded. On Saturday the 9th of April 2022, an explosion occurred, and a large fire broke out in a tank of the Kavala Oil facilities, which contained water and residues of oils and petroleum products. It took the firefighters more than 5 hours to extinguish the fire. The facility was not in operation and fortunately there were no injuries. The fire confirms the union’s concerns that without the necessary and qualified workforce; the safe operation of the facility cannot be achieved, risking not only the safety of the staff but also the environmental contamination.

Transitioning away from fossil fuels is necessary if we are to halt the climate crisis. But it must be a just transition, based on fundamental principles of justice and prosperity for workers and communities, maintaining jobs through education and retraining where required. A Just Transition must be lead and carried out by the Unions and the workers themselves. The sacking of 185 workers is not a just transition! Energean themselves admit they will only end oil extraction once it stops being profitable.

The sacking of 185 highly skilled and experienced workers is not a just transition. It does nothing to protect the environment and in fact only creates further danger. These layoffs only serve the interests of the bosses, whose goal is to boost profit and break the power of the union. It is against the interests of all for these workers to be dismissed and their experience wasted.

We stand in solidarity with the workers of Kavala Oil and call on all workers and environmental activists to support their struggle! We demand the re-employment of the 185 skilled workers with many years of experience who were illegally dismissed, to ensure the safe operation of the facilities at Kavala Oil. An injury to one is an injury to all!

This statement was launched by the Earth Strike UK, the IWW Environmental Committee and the Pan-Hellenic Energy Federation (PEF). Follow this link to support our statement and add yourself or your organisation to the list of supporters: https://forms.gle/nCtQCqpC9EEapECj9

Supported by

Earth Strike UK earth-strike.co.uk
IWW Environmental Committee iww.org.uk/green/
Pan-Hellenic Energy Federation www.poenergias.gr/
IWW Bristol Branch
IWW Ireland Branch
Workers’ Union of Motor Oil

Sab Cat, IWW Environmental Committee Secretary
Daniel Randal, Assistant Chair RMT Bakerloo line branch
Benedict Flexen, Earth Strike UK
Angela Patton, XR Trade Unionists
Max Loxterkamp, IWW
Parus Shah
Nathan Gilchrist, Bristol IWW, Plymouth Food Not Bombs
Steve Gower, XRTU, Unite Community
Olly Alcock, Bristol IWW, Plan C Bristol
Camden Dixie O’Brien, IWW
Alexander King, IWW
Huma Malik
Carolina Loxterkamp
Ariadne Roka
Tobias Kussel
Morrel O’Sullivan, Earth Strike UK
Apostolos Zorlou, Pan-Hellenic Energy Federation (PEF)
Panagiotis Tsokos, Pan-Hellenic Energy Federation (PEF)
Rena Ch
Katerina Vrablikova, IWW, BASE
Eleftheria Kazantzi
Άγγελος Τάσκος
Emmanouel Athanassiou
Ναι στηρίζω
vassiliki atsalinou
Tripikelis Konstantinos, Worker’s Union Of Motor Oil
Stavros Krokos
David Tomory
Vasilis Kalaitzis
Zafiriou Alexandre
Thomas Palatsios
Chousidis Ieremias
Dimitrios Karagiannidis
Tom Scally
Gianna Pistela