The spectacle was not unprecedented. It has become customary in Greece for the May Day strike to be marked by separate demonstrations by different trade unions, federations, and political parties.

This bizarre phenomenon of separate protest marches was more pronounced this year as participants could not even agree on a meeting time and place.

Half of the unions and labour groups held the strike marches on Tuesday and the other half yesterday.

If on this year’s Labour Day march – to which marchers had attached particular importance due to the imminent tabling of the government’s labour bill in parliament – trade unionists and party cadres proved unable to transcend the dysfunctions of the past, then obviously it behoves them to change their modus operandi.

If in the dress rehearsal for what Syriza called “the mother of all battles” – the fight against the labour bill – participants overlooked the need to forge a united front, then we are dealing with a glaringly obvious bid to exploit the commemoration for partisan gain.

Whoever truly wants to honour those whose rallying cry on 1 May, 1886, in Chicago was “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what you will”, and not just to garner votes from an orthodox-left-wing audience, should realise that trade unionist or party-based narcissism must be put aside.

May Day should be honoured with a single march each year.

The greatest power and the main negotiating advantage of workers who managed to win the gains that today’s workers hold as rights was their unity.

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