Greek Teachers demonstrating this Autumn Greek teachers are calling for co-ordinated action across Europe against cuts Themis Kotsifakis - General Secretary of the Greek secondary school teachers union OLME has called in a speech to the German education union GEW - for co-ordinated action across Europe against cuts and neo-liberal policies which are decimating the continent's schools. In a wide ranging speech, Kotsifakis demolishes the spin put on the Greek crisis in the mainstream world media - which seeks to portray the public sector as bloated and overpaid - by pointing out the longer hours and the much lower pay which Greek teachers for example have compared with a European average. The average pay for a European public servant is 27,000 euros as opposed to 15,000 for a Greek public service worker. The average working hours in Greece are 44.3 a week compared to an EU average of 41.7. Meanwhile youth unemployment in Greece has hit 45% and the tax burden for ordinary people has increased hugely while that for business has declined. Moreover education policy has been handed over to the so-called troika - the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The Greek government will have to report to the troika once every three months to prove it is carrying out their policies for the 'market-oriented school'. Kotsifakis gives details of the massive cuts which have already taken place in education - resulting in school closures, overlarge classes, lack of materials and  books, crumbling buildings and the destruction of support services. At the end of his speech, Kotsifakis points out that this is a Europe-wide struggle. There is no doubt that the developments in Greece are being or are likely to be repeated in many countries across the continent. He calls on Education International to co-ordinate struggles against austerity across Europe: We suggest that we should organize joint struggles and mobilizations throughout Europe which might include strikes, demonstrations and protests, sit-ins in public buildings and other forms of manifestation. ETUCE and EI are able to and must take on the role of the coordinator in this struggle. We also suggest ETUCE will organize delegations to European bodies with representatives from member organisations from the countries impacted by the crisis. With our common struggle we can overthrow the neoliberal policies in Europe. We strongly believe that employees are going to win. All together for another Europe! The full text of the speech can be read here: http://olme-attik.att.sch.gr/new/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/THE-CONSEQUENCES-OF-THE-GOVERNMENT-02122011.pdf