Greek water workers and water movement achieve success as water companies return to state control

Concert for Water at Aristotelous Square Thessaloniki on 2 April 2023

Concert for Water at Aristotelous Square Thessaloniki on 2 April 2023

(28 July 2023) A major success of 12 years campaigning of Greek water workers and the broader water and social movement as it was announced that the government will take back control of Athens and Thessaloniki Water companies, 27 July 2023. EPSU congratulates the workers, their unions and the water and social movements.

The Athens (EYDAP) and Thessaloniki (EYATH) water companies were threatened with privatisation since 2011. The government and later the European Commission (and Troika) argued that the sell of the companies would deliver money to reduce state debts. Workers, social movements and a large majority of Greek people did not agree. They have been waging a struggle against these sales which included:

  • A local referendum in Thessaloniki to which EPSU and others sent an international delegation to observe and prevent the repression of it, and 98% of people vote NO to the privatisation
  • Court cases which the unions won,
  • State council decisions ordering the government to implement the decisions of the Court and annul decisions which continued with the privatisation
  • And most recently the Concert for Water at Aristotelous Square Thessaloniki where 30.000 people came out in support

The struggle of the Greek water workers is part of the global struggle to recognise the right to water and sanitation and ensure that our water services are kept public.


For the statement of the Greek Water union in Thessaloniki

A 2022 podcast of the leader of the union describing the struggle

A visit of water workers from the Athens water company to EPSU

Information on the referendum of 2014

How the Greek water struggle fits in the broader struggles of unions and social movements.

For the work of Andreas Bieler, chronicler of Europe’s water struggles
His analysis of EPSU and others first ever successful European Citizens Initiative Right2Water

For Andreas’ overview of Struggles for Public Water in Europe