The Vice-President of the Parliament and Member of Parliament for Western Attica, Thanasis Bouras, in his speech at the Plenary Session of the Parliament, during the discussion and passing of the draft Law of the Ministry of Development and Investments “Sanitation of the Elefsina Shipyards and other provisions of a developmental nature”, said:
“Today I honestly feel special joy and satisfaction and it is one of the happiest moments of my parliamentary journey, because of what we are called to vote on. And I say this because until the last election I was the only Member of Parliament in Western Attica, after the division of the Region into Eastern and Western, and I have honestly lived the course of the Elefsina Shipyards for many years.
I must tell you that honestly what I saw today outside the Parliament is the first time I have experienced it. Here we constantly have marches, protests to not vote for something or to change something. On the contrary, today the workers of a very important region, proud, but poor, people who support Western Attica and 40%, Mr. Ministers, of the national wealth came to celebrate this particular bill. In Western Attica, all the major industries and businesses are located, and really one of them is the Elefsina Shipyards.
I wouldn’t need to say anything perhaps and I will only file the letter, for any colleague who didn’t get it, from the Workers’ Union.
I imagine you accept unionism and don’t consider it a la carte. Because really what is happening is the following. 99.7%, i.e. out of a total of 597 employees, 589, support this process. Honestly, I would be happy if all the workers were New Democracy, dear colleagues, I would be very happy and I wouldn’t have to run. They are, however, of all parties, of all shades.
Really, you will allow me – I have the right, because frankly I have been living this period since the period of Peraticus. At that time I was Prefect of Western Attica and I know the whole development. Let me remind you that every time I presided here, every quarter, after a struggle of many days and weeks with the Ministers, in order to secure around 3 million euros every quarter for these workers, who have families, who have children, who they study and are on a meager income. Don’t you remember that every quarter you too voted here for this situation to continue?
I want to take this opportunity to remind you of other things. In 2010, the first problems started in this business. In 2012, do you know how much each employee was paid? 100 euros were paid every month. This is what they lived on. In 2013, with the intervention of the prime minister at the time – I also had the fortunate opportunity to be Secretary General of the New Democracy Parliamentary Group – with the Samaras-Venizelou government, 25 million were given, of which the workers took 11 million and a partial payment of accrued wages was made from the years 2010 to 2013. Then these quarterly amounts started, which we all supported and voted for, in order to settle the workers.
When the Prime Minister of the country, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, made his final pre-election speech in Elefsina, I was by his side because I was the only West Attica MP at the time. He asked me, outside of general politics, what are the biggest issues that he should raise as a candidate for Prime Minister, I told him two. First, that a few months ago SYRIZA had turned the operation of the Megaron Health Center into a public service. It abolished its twenty-four-hour seven-day operation and made it open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. And in fact, Mr. Xanthos, the then Minister of Health, not only did not pick up the phone, but he did not even open his office door to me personally.
And secondly, that it is also the big issue of the consolidation of the Elefsina Shipyards, which Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced in his pre-election speech.
I too am happy today, because in the very first days of 2020, the Megaron Health Center reopened on a twenty-four-hour basis and seven-day work and – Mr. Tsipras knows this, he lives it, he is a Member of Parliament in the region – with this legislation the hot and chronic problem is solved subject of the Elefsina Shipyards.
Don’t you know that the local Municipal Councils have made decisions on this issue? Characteristically, let me tell you that the Municipal Council of Megara, out of twenty-seven, twenty-six voted in favor. Is everyone New Democracy? Is not. Or do they all represent big interests? No, they represent the workers of the region who are anxious for tomorrow.
I sincerely want, after thanking the Prime Minister for this finalization of the resolution of the issue, to especially thank the two present Ministers and Adonis Georgiadis and Nikos Papathanasis with whom I and all of us MPs of Western Attica had constant contacts.
Also, I want to thank the workers from this Forum, all the workers who really had the patience and perseverance all these years to endure all this difficulty. And today, yes, I am happy. I saw them today in the square, I see them every day.
I do not need to state and justify the merits of the bill, it is enough to emphasize only what the workers are experiencing to date. Forty million euros and more are the debts to the workers today. The abandoned shipyard facilities need over three hundred million to make them operational.
Let me tell you typical incidents where the workers turned to me all these years in order to intercede with EYDAP not to cut off their water!
The number of employees was constantly decreasing. Debts today amount to 450 million. And what does today’s bill do? Direct investment of 170 million dollars, debts and compensations for the employees of approximately 41 million euros, guaranteeing all the jobs of approximately six hundred that are today and additional revenues for the Greek government which amount to 1.1 billion euros. Strengthening the Greek economy with 1.6 billion euros. Creation within three years of another thousand four hundred jobs, so that the total number of employees reaches two thousand. Development of apprenticeships and dominant vitality in an area that keeps the industrial area of the country revitalizing an important shipyard that has excellent workers with a lot of experience with amazing knowledge and I say this responsibly and on the basis of knowledge.
While I am very happy today, I am also upset, because for many years I have fought with many colleagues who are not here in the Parliament for many years to support the shipyard to stay alive, as it used to be. Because if it had been closed, the solution would not exist today.
And this is the big cut made by today’s bill, which gives life to an important tool for Western Attica, but also for the country. And in this way, the anguish of the workers is put to an end and their hostage situation ends.”
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