On the 14th of February Panagiotis Vrettaros, father of two children, died in a road accident. He was not on this job part-time or in order to add some extra money to his main income. In contrast, he had been a professional driver for 16 consecutive years in his latest company alone. His death was not an accident or a ”bad time”. His death was a corporate murder that entails a certain motive and moral instigators. The motive is nothing else than the maximization of profits of his employers, Fourlis and Sfakianakis, and the indirect moral instigators are those managers and executives whose salary increase is analogous to the increase of the productivity of low-paid workers.
To put it simply: unpaid overtime, complete lack of protective equipment (helmet, raincoats, boots, gloves, biker jackets etc), complete disregard for weather conditions, criminally incomplete bike (and other vehicle) maintenance. These are the pieces that compose the mosaic of the every-day life for the 700 courier bike riders working in the company and the thousands of courier and delivery bikers in general.
The more the above conditions intensify, the more the profits of the company increase: this company has managed to increase its operations by 10% over the last three years by having their 300 truckers and 700 courier riders drained. An informal investigation in the company’s website reveals a number of nonsensical information on integrity, team spirit, respect towards employees, social and environmental responsibility. All of these could be considered funny had they not been enraging. All these big words signify nothing more than a shiny exterior covering the perils faced by riders on a daily basis, workers who lose their blood on accidents enabled by conditions that purport the increase and accumulation of corporate wealth. Obviously this does not only refer to corporate murders but encompasses all road accidents resulting to injury and any bikers out there understand how close to death one can get on a bike, even if the outcome is just grazes and bruises.
The most enraging aspect is that this ”serious” and ”responsible” company with all the displays of ”social empathy” has not found the time to send their condolences in writing to the family of the young employee. The Speedex Workers’ Union which has formed an alliance with the bosses wrote an overly emotional announcement two days following the accident and proceeded to white-wash the current corporate practices by stating that ”The Managing Council of the Union is sad to announce the loss of our colleague Panagiotis Vrettaros whose life was lost prematurely. The thread of his life was cut on Tuesday February 14th 2017 at 11:30 am. The cause of his death remains unidentified and unclear. We are all expecting that the autopsy report will clarify the cause of death and the conditions surrounding the accident”. There was no criticism against the company, not a word for responsibility, not a claim demanding an improvement of the working conditions.
Seeing that this matter is once again set aside and ignored and against any excuse towards any kind of social apathy, we came here, inside the company’s headquarters and made an effort to break the silence and bring those responsible to account. The deaths, mutilations, smaller or greater injuries, afflict certain workers with very specific job roles and now is the time for everyone to reflect on their responsibilities. No, we do not only mean the big bosses (Fourlis and Sfakianakis in this specific case) who are the main culprits, or their lackeys (managers and executives who are the direct moral instigators as we mentioned above). We have nothing to say to them apart from the fact that we will confront them every time there’s workers’ blood on their hands. We mainly refer to the workers of this company who pay for their oppressors’ bread with their tolerance and blood. To all those, as well as every kind of oppressed people, we have to say that the time of whining and self-pity IS OVER. Now is the time for everyone to understand that what was yesterday regarded as a matter of decency is now becoming a matter of survival and it is up to us to change this. Neither bosses nor bureaucrat syndicalists won’t do anything about it. If we don’t take matters into our own hands this situation will perpetuate endlessly.
We call on every exploited individual to reflect on their position and find a way towards collectivization, resistance, decency: participation in grassroots unions, collectives, any kinds of direct action and any creative outcome of individual or collective action and thought.
For a world of struggle and decency.
SELF-ORGANIZATION RESISTANCE SOLIDARITY
Anarchist Collective Rouvikonas
PS: Fifteen comrades were detained at the Amarousiou Police Department and were released an hour later.
(photo via @DOC_PROVOCATEUR)