Greece and France – Victories for the Papers for All movement

While the Greek government has announced its intention to regularise 300,000 Sans-Papiers, Sans-Papiers strikers working on one of the Olympic Games building site in France have won their regularisation. See article from the Financial Times about Greece and a press release from the Marche des Solidarités in France.

Greece to integrate irregular migrants amid labour shortage

Government seeks to address lack of workers in agriculture, tourism and construction

Rescued refugees and migrants stand aboard a boat at the town of Paleochora, southwestern Crete Migrants on a boat at Paleochora, Crete, in November 2022. Since the beginning of September, another 7,000 people have arrived on Greek islands © Costas Metaxakis/AFP/Getty Images

Eleni Varvitsioti in Athens and Amy Kazmin in Rome  FINANCIAL TIMES

September 26 2023

Greece plans to regularise the status of up to 300,000 migrants to cope with increasing labour market shortages, highlighting the dilemma rightwing governments face when trying to curb illegal arrivals.

Migration minister Dimitris Kairidis said on Tuesday that the plan was aimed at alleviating acute shortages in agriculture, tourism and construction and includes migrants whose residence permits have expired or are undocumented.

Kairidis argued that the initiative would not encourage more irregular migration but “boost public revenue with employment taxes and contributions and help address dramatic shortages in certain sectors”.

The plan was discussed on Tuesday at a national security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, but has still to be formalised.

Greece’s migration flows more than tripled in August compared with the same month in 2022, with 715 arriving. Since the beginning of September, another 7,000 people have arrived on Greek islands pushing the capacity of migrant facilities to their limits.

The government, which has come under criticism for its harsh treatment of migrants, has promised to be “fair but tough”. Kairidis told the Financial Times that Greek authorities will continue to “guard the borders diligently, but also . . . provide very humane conditions for asylum seekers”.

While trying to clamp down on irregular migrants, Greece is feeling the pinch of labour shortages, particularly in agriculture.

The labour centre in Heraklion on the island of Crete last month warned that many vintners are watching “the fruits of their labour go to waste” as they are unable to complete the harvest without additional help. Other crops are also affected, with the farming association of Ierapetra saying that in several rural areas in Crete, “the situation is extremely difficult” as many producers abandon their crops as they are unable to cope on their own.

Agriculture minister Lefteris Avgenakis said that foreign worker schemes with countries including Egypt and Bangladesh are often delayed by bureaucratic hurdles and that it is imperative to hire migrants already in the country. The minister said there were many land workers in Greece who had been working in the grey economy, creating “insecurity and causing social, health and fiscal problems”.

By regularising their status, “we will give a breather to people who are employed and to employers who hire them without the stress of doing something illegal”, Avgenakis said.

Italy’s rightwing prime minister Giorgia Meloni has confronted a similar dilemma, trying to fulfil her election promise to crack down on illegal immigration even as employers in many sectors complain about a shortage of workers.

Rome has in the past regularised the status of some undocumented workers, but Meloni has avoided that step, instead focusing on increasing the number of work permits issued for citizens of non-EU countries.

In July, the Italian government announced that it would issue 425,000 such permits by 2025 — up sharply from the less than 31,000 permits issued in the years before the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the same time, in a bid to curb a surge of arrivals on Italian shores, Meloni’s government has pledged to build new facilities to hold illegal migrants in custody and to require a bail of nearly €5,000.

Nous l’avons dit, on ne recule plus.

La Marche des Solidarités se félicite de la victoire de l’occupation du chantier de l’Arena obtenue grâce à la coopération entre collectifs de sans-papiers (CSP75, Droits devant, Gilets Noirs, CSPM, CSP20), le syndicat CNT-SO et différents réseaux

Les grévistes vont être régularisés. Plus encore, tous les sans-papiers qui ont travaillé pour les 3 sous-traitants concernés et ont été licenciés parce que sans-papiers seront réintégrés. Plus encore tous les sans-papiers travaillant pour ces sous-traitants ont 3 mois pour se signaler aux syndicats pour que leur situation soit régularisée. Une délégation sera reçue au ministère du travail pour exprimer l’opposition à la loi Darmanin et exiger la régularisation de tous les sans-papiers.

Au-delà, la victoire obtenue aujourd’hui démontre, si besoin en était, qu’il n’y a pas besoin de nouvelle loi pour régulariser les sans-papiers. Seule la lutte et la solidarité sont nécessaires. Le roi est nu : le projet de loi Darmanin apparaît ainsi pour ce qu’il est, un projet raciste et sécuritaire qui n’a d’autre but que de ´mener la vie impossible pour tous les étrangers et étrangères’ dans ce pays. Et d’amplifier la précarisation de tous et toutes les travailleurs aux conditions du patronat.

Cette victoire obtenue par la lutte n’est qu’un début. Nous l’avons dit, on ne recule plus.

Nous appelons à apporter tout soutien aux camarades en lutte sur les piquets organisés par la CGT tout comme nous exigeons la régularisation des grévistes de Chronopost, DPD et Emmaüs.

Vidéo de la sortie du chantier des grévistes et soutiens qui ont mené l’occupation :

Vidéo du rassemblement devant l’entrée du chantier en soutien à l’occupation :

Les collectifs de la Marche des Solidarités // blog