Over the last year, entrepreneur Andreas Kouris claims that he has no money to pay the salaries and compensations he owes to the employees he laid off from his Metropolis Stores; well, as the owner of MAD Media Group, he sure seems to have enough to organize extravagant and expensive events such as the Greek Eurovision Song Contest.
The latest manoeuvre by Andreas Kouris, the organization of another fiesta (this time, the Greek Eurovision Song Contest), no less one that was directly assigned to him by the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), begets many questions and offends the world.
First of all, it offends us, the employees laid off from Andreas Kouris’ Metropolis Stores, as we happen to have a firsthand knowledge of our former employer. As a “successful businessman”, Andreas Kouris, ever since he purchased the Metropolis Stores 3 years ago, has managed to close 13 stores, to put the whole enterprise under Article 99 of the Greek Bankruptcy Code and to lay off 180 employees. To this day, he refuses to pay accrued wages and compensations to nearly half of his former employees; the total amount owed to us is over €600,000.
Faced with this attempted robbery of our salaries and compensations, we decided to act. For over a year, we have been struggling with undiminished intensity on the streets and inside the courts, having decided not to give away even a drop of our sweat to Andreas Kouris. We have organized approximately 60 protest rallies, with the support of trade-unions and workers’ collectives: outside various former Metropolis stores (on Panepistimiou Street in the centre of Athens, in Halandri, in Thessaloniki and inside The Mall Athens, where a march took place), at the current Athens store on Stadiou Street, at the premises of the Metropolis company, at the Social Labour Inspectorate, outside the Athens Courts, as well as during another fiesta organized by Andreas Kouris last summer, the so-called MAD Video Music Awards. The result so far: a Greek court has convicted Andreas Kouris to 27 months of imprisonment with a 3-year suspension of the penalty and a financial penalty of €7,800.
Realizing that the amount of money owed by Andreas Kouris to us, his former employees, is almost equivalent to that required for the costly organization of the extravagant Greek Eurovision Song Contest, and that Andreas Kouris, by investing such an amount –illegally withheld from us– in order to organize yet another fiesta, aims to increase his fortune on our expense, we consider this specific action of his highly provocative and offensive.
The organization of the Greek Eurovision Song Contest is not offensive just for us, the employees laid off from the Metropolis stores. The direct assignment by ERT of the Greek Eurovision Song Contest to Andreas Kouris’ MAD TV Channel is an offence for all workers currently suffering by the implementation of tough austerity measures. It’s not just the already despicable obsession of the Greek State to organize such a costly event while people starve; the fact that a public institution is assigning it for free (along with a part of the profits, no less!) to an individual whose enormous debts to the State, to his employees and to a large number of other creditors are talked by the entire market for some time now proves that the notorious “interweaving” of media and political power, contrary to all pompous declarations, lives and reigns!
Culminating our just struggle until its final vindication, we call for a
Protest Rally outside the Greek Eurovision Song Contest
At GAZI MUSIC HALL (Corner of Piraeus Street & Iera Odos)
MONDAY, 18th of FEBRUARY 2013, 19:30
WE WILL NOT STEP BACK! OUR STRUGGLE CONTINUES!