TOGETHER, AT WORK AND IN THE FIGHT!
The relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots historically prove that for many years they were harmonious. This is a fact that cannot be disputed, despite the reactions of various “nation-saving” forces.
The common struggles do not start or stop in the context of the solution and reunification of our country. Chronologically, the common struggles are defined in the 1940s. The coexistence in the workplaces, in the metallurgies, in the ports, the hard working conditions, the “native dip” hours of the sun.
“Despite the adversities, the difficult conditions and the terrorism that prevailed in the ports at that time, we managed to establish the Union of Porters and together with our Turkish colleagues to demand an improvement of the terms and conditions of work […] Together with our Turkish Cypriot colleagues, we work for a starvation wage and struggle under the guidance of our Guild for a better life.” Statement of a Greek Cypriot trade unionist, working at the port in 1930.
The year 1948 is the year etched in memory, history and consciousness as the most intense, acute year of struggles to establish the right to organize and to regulate employment conditions by collective labor agreements. The strike lasted 266 days with 4300 strikers in the construction, copper and asbestos mines, 150 strikers sentenced to imprisonment from 2 months to 2 years and many striking workers injured by the attacks on the colonial police.
The great class struggle of 1948 was fought by fraternized G/C and T/C workers, against the colonial government, the foreign and local employers but also against the anti-labor and strike action of the right.
The first major class struggle began with the strikes of 2100 miners of the American company, CMC, which lasted 121 days, demanding higher wages, shorter working hours, overtime pay and rest. In this battle, colonial forces opened fire on the strikers resulting in many injuries. In these strikes, 77 strikers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 months to 2 years and hundreds of others were fined. Importantly, however, the miners won increases of 33%, forcing the company to negotiate.
The asbestos miners’ strike continued, lasting 29 days and in which more than 60 workers were imprisoned. Demands were an increase in wages, payment of overtime on Sundays, recognition of the labor disputes commission, repair of workers’ housing and the re-employment of the dismissed.
The year ended with the strike of 1200 builders, which lasted 118 days. Their demands were an increase in wages and an increase in the employer contribution to social security. During this strike, 60 builders were convicted and imprisoned.
The events of the intercommunal riots of 1963, the coup and the invasion may have left indelible marks on the political and social life of the country. As the years go by, here and there the green line is created that is difficult to change, but the common struggles have not stopped.
The common struggles have their own symbol, their own heroes, their own dead. A shocking example are the hero-martyrs of the Greek-Turkish friendship Dervis Ali Cavazoglou – Kostas Misiaoulis.
The history of the common struggles of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers is a beacon for the younger generations and keeps the flame burning for reunification and coexistence in a united homeland.
As EDON, we place particular emphasis on the joint struggle of the two communities for a solution and reunification of our country and people.
Together with the wider popular movement, with wider forces that are in favor of the solution of the Cypriot issue and also with the progressive Turkish Cypriot forces, we take part in joint actions.
Especially after 2017 and the stagnation in the Cyprus issue, the common struggle of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots is the only glimmer of hope that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can live together peacefully in the place that gave birth to us.
As EDON we are organizing the fortnight of rapprochement dedicated to the martyrs of Greek-Turkish friendship, Dervis Ali Cavazoglou and Kostas Misiaulis. We maintain relations with progressive Turkish Cypriot youth organizations that want a solution to the Cyprus issue. We participate together with the wider popular movement in marches, actions, events for a solution to the Cyprus problem. (Common May Day events, September 1st events, events for the opening of other crossings, etc.)
For EDON, the solution of the Cyprus issue is a life goal and that is why we give all our strength in this direction.