What is Base Syndicalism – How does S.V.E.O.D. operate

What is Base Syndicalism – How does S.V.E.O.D. operate

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What is “Base Syndicalism”?


How does the “Base Union Assembly for Bike and Motorcycle Riders” (S.V.E.O.D.) operate and what kind of syndicalism does it promote?


A. Principles of functioning

The general assembly of the “Base Union Assembly for Bike and Motorcycle Riders in all trades and branches of economy” (S.V.E.O.D.), through its regular and occasional weekly assemblies, is the highest decisional body of the union. Decisions are taken through collective dialogical discussions that can either evolve easily or through difficulties. In the discussions we use up all the available time, and in many occasions it has taken weeks or even months to reach a decision. Our aim is to exhaust the subjects we grapple with, go through all the issues we are involved in and eventually resolve them, because our collective experience has taught us that it is impossible to socialize any kind of topic or analysis, if you don’t understand it deeply yourself, if you haven’t already made it your own.

Furthermore, certain matters gain their place on the union agenda gradually, several years after their initial introduction to the assembly. For every decision, our goal is to reach the maximum level of agreement, and we don’t proceed with the implementation of our plans until the percentage of consensus reaches at least 90%. In the permanent[1] assembly of the union, decisions are taken through the process of synthesis and collective formulation. Disagreements concerning politics and syndicalist matters are frequent, and stating well-argued analyses is a necessary precondition to conduct any kind of discussion. Everyone has the right to participate in this process, and as a union we believe this represents a fertile way to educate new as well as old members in the culture of base syndicalism. Minority opinions have the right to differ and move alongside the majority, as long as they do not conflict with the statute of the assembly.

Our union has no professional staff. We don’t get paid for the work we offer to the union. The slogan “every member is also a union executive” is a key axis of our strategy. We practice horizontal and anti-hierarchical base syndicalism which is our version of grassroots trade unionism. We aim for all our members to be more than just equal on the base of the statute. Our goal is to be equally capable and structured trade unionists, equally constituted at trade union level.

In order to avoid the emergence of camouflaged bureaucrats, experts and charismatic leaders, the union holds elections every twelve months with a single ballot, without political factions, organizations and parties.

The administrative council is constantly renewed to avoid the emergence of any kind of administrative degeneration. Any member is given the possibility to execute the decisions of the assembly, whenever and wherever necessary. Based on internal commitment, outgoing elected members do not run for the new council. In this way (twelve-month mandate) we aim to renew and create new executives that will bear the responsibility of executing the decisions of the assembly. For any elected member who ignores the union’s internal commitment and submits a candidacy for a second year in a row, the assembly proceeds not only to condemn his/her conduct but also to vote against him/her. Also, even during their twelve-month term, the members of the council can be revoked at any time by the assembly.

For the assembly, the election to the administrative council is honorary. The members of the administrative council have exactly the same rights as any other member of the assembly. However, they have additional responsibilities compared to the other members. The treasurer is charged with the proper management of the fund. The secretary is responsible for recording the minutes of the assemblies. The president handles the communication with the various institutions. All members of the administrative council represent the union institutionally in meetings with employers and public institutions. At the same time, for reasons of equality but also to share the workload between all members of the union, the administrative council authorizes other members of the assembly to represent the union at the ministries, the Labour Inspectorate and every other institutional field. The administrative council does not decide but executes the decisions of the assembly e.g., notifying the authorities about a strike or mobilisation, the submission of memorandums to the Ministry of Labour with our demands for:

  1. a Unified Profession for riders of all trades, in all branches of economy
  2. Company Vehicle
  3. Means of Personal Protection
  4. Hazardous Occupation Insurance.

The members of the administrative council do not exercise their right to union leave[2] because it’s a privilege that distinguishes them from other union members and colleagues in the workplace. In the 15 years of our union’s existence, our members have kept a series of internal commitments concerning the culture of base syndicalism. One of them is not to run as candidates for municipal and national elections, not to use the union as a vehicle for their own personal ambitions or aspirations.

Our union is not subsidized by the state. Our finances depend exclusively on the contributions of our members. The financial contribution to the union is 8 euros per month, it reaches 96 euros per year and it is comparatively the highest union membership in the country. In this way, we manage to be financially independent.


 B. Political and syndicalist principles

Both on a political and syndicalist level, we do not let our union’s class identity to be defined by any external factors. As an assembly, we collectively compose and formulate our plans, we shape our strategy and we choose the place, the time, the duration and the means of our actions.

The respect that we draw from the class and social base to which we belong, is the reflection of the respect that we show towards the principles and values of direct democracy and autonomous class syndicalism.

We oppose permanent assignations and hierarchy (both formal and informal). We consider them as serious pathologies on a social, political and syndicalist level. For this reason, they constitute issues of constant concern, since our goal is to go beyond permanent assignations and hierarchy, following the rationale of “every member is also a union executive”. Which is, the rationale of participation. At the same time, we oppose racism, fascism and any kind of discrimination and division based on sex, gender, sexuality or age.

The assembly does not give interviews to the mainstream media and we refer any interested party to our collective statements that are posted on the union’s website sveod.gr.

In this way we avoid the conversion of the union members into charismatic media figures or potential gifted leaders. We propagandize our word and action through our own means, avoiding the distorting representation of any kind of intermediary. We turn our back to the paid journalism of mental dullness and fake news, and we leave all who seek attention and publicity through the mainstream media, to the judgment of time and our colleagues.

Our position on mainstream media remains unchangeable. And to be absolutely clear, we quote the following text, which was published in the first issue of our union’s newspaper in February 2007, as it reflects the founding declarations of our union and determines our position until today.

Our assembly and the mainstream media.

From the beginning, as an assembly of workers, we have been skeptical of the mass media and journalists. We have been cautious to the point of being negative towards newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television. We have been given many opportunities to be represented but as an assembly we have always refused. And as an assembly we decided to publicize the reasons that have driven us to this position, to avoid repeating the same things over and over. Of course, since no one is forced to follow our anti-media rationale, we hope that through our arguments we can convince even those who disagree with us.

Why say no to the mainstream media?

One of the reasons is that as an assembly we operate in a direct democratic way. This means that we all participate in the decisions through our weekly assemblies. We are not interested in representation but in participation. It is known how the media are always in search of the leader, the charismatic figure, the expert, the one. Exactly the opposite of what we are aiming for. That is, the many who discuss, decide, write and publicize their decisions. And here a second question arises.

How will people get to know our collective decisions?

Through our own media: newspapers, leaflets, posters, banners, slogans, graffiti, and via the interaction with every working member of the union. No one can express our needs better than ourselves. We don’t need experts, we don’t need to know the “right” people. We need colleagues that want to take life into their own hands and fight. We don’t see ourselves as celebrities and we are definitely not waiting for the 15 minutes of publicity promised by Andy Warhol to the senile western world. In continuity with the unions of the 19th and 20th centuries, we are obliged to avoid the mistakes of the past and rephrase syndicalism without intermediaries.

But do we have the know-how, do we have the infrastructure for autonomous publicity?

Yes, we have them and we prove it continuously through our campaigns, motorbike demos, leaflets, flyers and posters that we distribute throughout the city, throughout the country. As a union we seek participation. We aim at taking part in the social, political and cultural role that corresponds to each and everyone that calls him/herself a member of a worker’s union. And it would be a mistake to entrust our aims and goals to all sorts of experts. We want all our colleagues to have a voice and an opinion of their own in the collective formulation of our mobilizations, in the escalation of our demands and our struggles. We all live more or less alike, we are all in the same boat. And that’s why we all have a lot to say, a lot to write and a lot to share. This text that you are now holding in your hands, like every other union aspect, it’s also your own, it’s open to your own thoughts, it can become your own article without the intermediation of any journalist that will always perceive reality from his/her own perspective, from the point of view of his/her boss and his/her monthly payrolls.


And what is a journalist?

An employee. That works for a newspaper. That usually belongs to a corporation. Which serves specific interests. And since we don’t believe in independent journalism and we have repeatedly seen the media turn public opinion against the struggles of workers, we prefer to keep our distance. Every time we are mentioned by the mainstream media, we observe the following facts: they rarely post photos that show vast numbers. They rarely mention the texts that the assembly makes public. And in the case of the founding assembly that voted on the statute of the union, they didn’t mention a single paragraph. In many cases they present us as some kind of weirdo motorbike fanatics. And from their point of view, it is perfectly reasonable.

What can a journalist, that sees us as nothing more than a “hot topic”, understand about our needs? For all the reasons presented, as a union we decided to mobilize and communicate through our own means. Without depending on neither good nor bad journalists. Neither progressive nor conservative ones. Until now we have managed to do a great job, and as time will pass and the participation of our colleagues will increase, our infrastructures will also improve, and our publications will eventually reach more and more people.

And for the impatient ones, that would like to see us in the front pages, we recommend patience. Let’s participate in the process, take initiative, work, build the union and put aside any kind of divine interventions. When you allow others to represent you, even if it’s in a positive way, it doesn’t mean that at the first spin of the wheel they will not find something to say against you. We live in a give-and-take world. And we certainly do not want to give away any of our rights. And at this point another question arises.


Will these precautions protect us from negative criticism and media distortion?

Of course not. But at least we will not have given our consent to approaches which we know that sooner or later will turn against us. And most importantly, the communication with our colleagues and society will result from us and our procedures. Because it is always better to depend on your own powers. At the end of the day, the journalists that want to publicize our views can always report our word intact as it is in our texts, produced collectively by the base union assembly for bike and motorbike riders. Why such obsession with interviews? Why such obsession with personal stories, with portraits and not with the collective struggles? Why not report the collective statements of our union’s body? Probably because it doesn’t sell well. Workers don’t sell. Direct democracy in the unions doesn’t sell. The procedures we follow don’t sell. At least they don’t sell as much as the tear-jerking stories about delivery boys, aside with the stupid “rock” approaches of motorbike drivers and similar bullshit.


C. How does the union function?

Besides every day union life, we function through a) our weekly assembly on Saturdays b) the monthly general assembly every first Sunday of the month and c) the weekly opening of the union’s office on Tuesday afternoons.

Every Saturday, starting from 18:00 the assembly is open to all colleagues and we discuss tactics and strategy concerning the development of the union. In the assembly, everyone has the right to intervene regardless of their degree of participation in the union. The weekly assemblies, with the variety of subjects that are discussed, function in a preliminary way towards the monthly general assembly.

Our general assembly takes place on the first Sunday of every odd month. The deferred assemblies take place on the first Sunday of every even month, and occasional assemblies can be designated whenever the assembly decides so.

In order to avoid the assembly’s restraint by bureaucratic protocols and procedures, in the face of an urgent problem that needs to be answered immediately, the assembly acts by taking initiative according to the principles and values of base syndicalism (for example, if we need to intervene in a workplace where a colleague is facing an urgent problem).

Moreover, every Tuesday from 18.00 the union’s office is open to every colleague, either registered member or not, that is in search for counselling in relation to labour issues like insurance, salary, means of personal protection, complaints to the Labour Inspectorate or legal actions against employers/companies/platforms and every other possible labour dispute.

For meetings and communication with other unions, worker’s collectives, social and political collectives, ministries and public authorities, we assign either two or three representatives, so that all union members have the opportunity to participate in the public class dialogue, to communicate the union’s views. Each assignment depends on availability given by colleagues and on the task itself. Representatives either volunteer or are appointed by the assembly.



D. Public address – Structures of struggle

D1. Means of public address

For the purpose of spreading our word and analyses, strengthening our presence and establishing contact, building trust with the colleagues through the word that becomes action, the union distributes the newspaper Relanti[3]. It is a periodical publication that is handed out for free at the crossroads and in the workplace, through organized distributions in courier companies, restaurants and food courts. In the 15 years of the union, we have published 45 different editions of the newspaper and we have distributed hand to hand more than 100.000 copies.

The distribution of the newspaper, either individually or collectively, keeps us connected with other colleagues and with our feet on the ground. It gives us the opportunity to be in constant contact with our class reality. We learn first-hand everything that happens in the workplace, about bosses who hold the record in terms of licentiousness. We meet colleagues who support the union’s strikes, we discuss with them face to face and inform them of their rights. We communicate the struggles that break out in our profession from one workplace to the other, whether it’s about platforms, franchises or chain stores.

Our editorial committee is open to all union members, and it discusses the articles of the newspaper in the context of the assembly. Text writing and article composition is not only a right but also a duty of every assembly member to the extent that it doesn’t promote nationalist, racist or sexist views that reinforce the exploitation between human beings. The cost of the union’s newspaper is borne exclusively by the assembly.

Also, to further communicate our analyses, the union has created a website. At the address sveod.gr, we upload breaking news, updates, pamphlets, articles, texts, analyses, and posters, we use all means necessary to spread our word.

The union has an e-mail and telephone number that are posted on our site. They are two very useful communication tools through which colleagues come into contact with us for updates, complaints or information. At the same time, the union intervenes in workplaces with leaflets and targeted publications for colleagues in digital mediation companies (platforms) like efood (local branch of Delivery Hero) and Wolt.


D2. Structures of struggle

I) Base assemblies in the workplaces

Organizationally, we promote base assemblies in workplaces and, wherever possible,

company unions with direct democratic features and horizontal, anti-hierarchical structures.

II) Motorcycle demos

Motorcycle demos have become a multidimensional tool for us. The meeting point for all riders. The moment when driving alone becomes marching together. The collective river that makes us visible. Our own way to communicate our demands to society. The final stage of a union struggle, work stoppage or strike, the point of contact with other parts of the working class. It’s the street depiction of our demands, the call towards other colleagues to join and make the union stronger. The day in which our slogans reflect from the walls of the city to the ears of society. Every motorcycle demo completes a cycle of struggle and at the same time it’s the beginning of the next one. And every time we are impatient to see how the day will develop, because during the years it has given us moments of joy, pride, celebration and victory.

III) Direct actions in the workplace

We carry out direct actions in shops and businesses against layoffs, to denounce employer terrorism, protest against work accidents and highlight the multitude of corporate abuses. The majority of colleagues working in stores and businesses support our actions. And this is due to the tireless work and consistent presence of the union. And at the same time, it’s the difficulties of the job that bind us together, the common empathy and the hardships we face daily. In our actions, we always distribute leaflets in the neighbourhood and nearby intersections. We come in contact with the local workers, the drivers and the passers-by and the news about the union’s actions travel from one part of the city to the other. Also, thanks to the nature of the job, the riders will spread the news to their workplace.

IV) Work stoppages

Work stoppages are yet another arrow in the union’s quiver. When the occasion demands it

we proceed to a work stoppage and take direct action in the store (or stores, when it is a chain business) where the colleague or colleagues claim their right. Work stoppages related to labour claims are organized fast but never in a rush. Work stoppages, which concern permanent issues, such as undeclared work and hazardous occupation insurance are propagated and organized over time, just like our strikes. When we choose to intervene with a work stoppage, we visit the workplaces frequently and make sure our fellow workers are fully informed. This type of plan gives us the ability to proceed with the support of our fellow workers in a general stoppage. It gives us the ability to guard the work stoppage, to paralyze the businesses for the entire time.

V) Strike

The union does not take the decision to strike in vain. The assembly prepares each strike for several months in advance with the aim of communicating the content of the demands to as many parts of society as possible. In the months-long propaganda that precedes every strike, we visit the workplaces regularly to inform and discuss. We meet and interact with society and the movement, with working class groups and collectives. Strike propaganda always includes an issue or two of our newspaper, leaflets, posters, banners, stickers, graffiti, public events and actions, containing the specific demands of every strike. During the months-long preparation of our strikes, along with our demands we seek our connection with the wider issues that concern us as a class.

VI) Appeal to the Labour Inspectorate

This is a very frequent procedure, a standing tactic of the union for the resolution of labour disputes caused by employer violations of labour legislation. Labour disputes concerning back pays, unpaid overtime, bonuses, maintenance and gas expenses, constitute the menu of employer arbitrariness. The process at the labour inspectorate concerns the employee, the union representatives, the inspector and the employer or its representative. Any employee who appeals to the labour inspectorate can contact and consult us. The experience of the union secures a clear and steady pace, helps in the detailed recording of a complaint and individual case management. A series of standing demands, stemming from union victories such as the law 4611/2019 are always included in the context of the claimed. Our principle is to listen to the needs of each colleague without deviating from our class interests. The fully organized presentation of the labour dispute by the union determines the outcome of the procedure and entitles the employee to legal action, often armed with a positive report from the inspectorate. Also, the union regularly appeals to the labor inspectorate and requests targeted inspections in violative stores and businesses.

VII. Negotiation with the employers.

When a colleague reports problems with the company in which he/she works, we choose to make contact with the employer. This approach takes place in order to get a complete picture of the situation but also as a way to show good intentions. In the event that no common ground for agreement can be found, we proceed as follows:

  1. a) we take direct action in the store
  2. b) we appeal to the Labour Inspectorate
  3. c) we take direct action in the store and appeal to the Labour Inspectorate.

VIII) Judiciary struggle

This is a challenging, time-consuming and expensive process for each colleague and also for the union, which is called upon to confront the blind bourgeois justice system. This doesn’t intimidate us, nor has it ever brought us to the point of resignation. We face it as just another confrontation’s front, another way to struggle and win, to put a stop to the bosses’ rampage. A front that gives us the opportunity to enforce the application of the labour legislation, which has been conquered through the struggles of our class. We aim, as in all matters concerning the union, to be methodical, careful and evidence-based, insightful in our approach to every individual case. In cooperation with the lawyers, we prepare our line of defense in court. We listen carefully to the opinions of the lawyers, but the last word belongs to us, according to the specific issues we want to highlight and to our syndicalist goals. The cases that colleagues have won are many, and this fills us with courage and willingness to continue with the same resolution, taking always into account mistakes, gaps and weaknesses that arise.

IX) Ministry of Labour

This is a very important chapter in the tactical and strategical development of the union and by extension of the profession and class. Since our foundation, we aim at improving the conditions of our profession, and this also passes through the doors of the ministry. As a union we believe that the state has continuity. This is why we repeatedly contacted the Ministry of Labour, regardless of the government in charge, in order to make our demands known, to pressure it to negotiate and regulate labour issues. The multitude of analytical and scientifically documented depositions that we present to the ministry, proves that we require an ever-improving regulatory framework for our profession, with the best possible work conditions. The concept and the essence of the unified profession, just as for the hazardous occupation insurance, have been presented to the ministry meticulously with extensive and analytical depositions. Our continuity, coherence, focus and persistence, led to the approval of the law 4611/2019, with which the following rights were won for all drivers of two-wheel vehicles, whether delivery riders or couriers.

  1. a) company vehicle, or reimbursement for maintenance expenses equal to 15% of the basic salary
  2. b) full compensation for gas expenses
  3. c) basic Means of Personal Protection (M.P.P)
  4. d) the de facto acceptance of a unified profession as the law applies to all workers with a two-wheels vehicle, whether working as couriers or delivery riders in all trades and branches of economy.
  5. e) the registration of every vehicle in the ERGANI information system[4].


E. Ant’s work

Since our foundation we have set 4 main demands concerning our profession.

1) Company vehicle

2) Means of Personal Protection (MPP)

3) Hazardous Occupation Insurance

4) Unified Profession. A single profession for all workers with a two-wheels vehicle (couriers and delivery riders in all trades and branches of economy).

In the early years, in the first campaigns and in discussions with colleagues, these four demands sounded utopian to the vast majority, who were shrugging their shoulders out of indifference. Accustomed to defeat, they were exorcising syndicalism, trying to discourage us with their bitter smiles. They were convinced that struggles have no effect. And especially the demand for hazardous occupation insurance, was the epitome of the impossible, as in their opinion this demand belonged to the realm of imagination.

However, the years passed and time flowed. Our consistent and stable presence made our profession visible and empowered colleagues through detailed analyses and structured arguments. Our efforts and sacrifices transformed our collective vision into reality. We promised that “we will not change profession we’ll change the profession”. And it’s a promise that still signals our struggles. We left behind us the employers’ narrative of the delivery “boys” to regain our class pride and dignity. And where class struggle was in retreat or disappearing, we created ramparts of disobedience and counterattack. We broke the complicit silence of the employers and their subservients. We created outbreaks of struggle in stores, measuring ourselves without cowardice against layoffs, bouncers,      the para-state and all kinds of luben elements, measuring victories in terms of paid back wages and rehires. All of this is a direct consequence of the ant’s work. And we continue “from struggling in the streets, to the streets of struggle”.

All analysis produced by the union assembly are supplemented by the ant’s work. Flesh from the flesh of the working class, our members storm the city on their 8-hour shifts, talk about the union, encouraging colleagues to fight back. With newspapers, spray cans, paint and posters in hand, assuring that our voice stays firmly in the public space, gaining further ground. Our continuous presence regardless of weather conditions and the ever-changing political situation, the trust and respect we gained from our colleagues, became a reality with the ant’s work.

The acceptance of the class discourse of the union by a vast majority of colleagues brought our demands to the spotlight, and by now those that discredit us can be described simply as picturesque.

With the law 4611/2019, articles 55 and 56, passed in May 2019, the union gathered the collectively grown fruits with all the colleagues that over the years went on strike with us and supported the struggle. Two of our fixed demands – company vehicle and Means of Personal Protection – were legislated, while the demand for a “unified profession” was recognized de facto since the law applies to anyone who drives a two-wheels vehicle, either delivery rider or courier. In addition, according to law 4611/19, from December 2020 employers are obliged to submit the form E13 to the information system ERGANI for any motorcycle used by their employee. Also, after we sent a deposition to the Ministry of Labour in March 2021, we also wait for the full settlement on issues that concern the standards, the technical characteristics and the certification of validity of the delivery/distribution box. But, perhaps the most important thing of all for our profession and class, since we raised the issue for Hazardous Occupation Insurance, is that it is now considered obvious for all colleagues that the inclusion of our profession in the list of hazardous occupations is just a matter of time.


F. Goals and objectives

The type of trade unionism we practice is class-based, it refers to the labour movement and society. Political surplus value produced by the union’s interaction with class and society is not meant for either personal self-interest nor for party surplus value. We want the collectively gained surplus value to return to the base, to serve, to educate and to cultivate the base.

From our foundation in 2007, our goal is to create a massive, combative union that demands and wins the little daily battles in the workplace against resignation and defeatism that would like to see the working-class retreat and submit. Our goal is the massive and assertive union presence anywhere a colleague needs our help (whether courier or delivery rider). As an assembly, we seek the intensification of class conflict, the development of social dialogue, and we neither consent nor submit to the rationale of “social partners” and “social peace” when it demolishes our personality and our working rights.

In addition, we seek the socialization of our discourse, the connection with workers from other branches and professions, the dissemination of the ideas, practices and actions of base syndicalism in the labour movement. We seek to promote base syndicalism and direct democracy in trade unions, so that all decisions are taken by the general assembly of the labour base, the highest decisional body of base syndicalism. In these terms, our goal is to participate in the formation of a large front of workers with anti-hierarchical, direct democratic characteristics which will not be subservient nor will be represented by the syndicalist bureaucracy of parties, political organizations, secondary or tertiary trade union bodies. Our goal is victory and only victory wherever we take action. We believe that with the weapons of ever-evolving analysis, structured argumentations, faith, truth, massiveness, imagination, persistence, consistency and determination, we will continue to overcome every obstacle that comes our way.


G. Second and third-level federations and confederations.

Our union doesn’t participate in any second-level (regional) or third-level (national) federation or confederation. As a primary union we are not willing to concede to third parties our right to negotiate autonomously. At the same time, we politically and philosophically oppose the partisanization of trade unionism and class struggle. We think that this specific choice, the subordination of class struggle to the interests and aspirations of parties, contributed crucially to lead trade unionism to obsolescence, despised by the workers, synonymous with fraud and parasitism. It’s a direct consequence of the vertical way of functioning, of the class values and principles that are bypassed, of the dysfunctions of the bureaucratic structures, that can be summarized as follows:

1. vertical hierarchy

2. concentration of power in the hands of a few

3. exercise of administration by an elite – usually specific and limited without the necessary direct democratic range

4. lack of dialogue with class, society and colleagues

5. absence of assemblies, besides the annual assembly or when elections are called (which means every three or four years)

6. appearance of professional executives, who are cut off from everyday working reality, with no connection to the workers, decked out in party laurels or stuffed with fat fees. Regardless of the starting point and the good intentions they may have had (from the fall of the Greek junta, in 1974 until today) they end up serving the system they are supposed to be fighting.

7. members adopt predetermined roles and role standardization is strong.

At the opposite side of centralism, base syndicalism is based on the permanent assembly and the vibrant horizontal, anti-hierarchical processes. It is based on our vision for a world in which exploitation between human beings will be a thing of the past.

1. members seek to work collectively against divisions, respect particularities, incorporate the diverse, to promote learning, self-education and to share knowledge against the specialization of roles

2. hierarchy is at the opposite extreme of horizontality as it promotes and is supported by vertical structures and, among other things, is considered pathogenic because it promotes delegation and intellectual laziness.

3. administration is collective, it is based on the labour base, and decisions are taken by the assemblies

4. power is in the hands of assemblies, it is shared and decentralized

5. against roles the maximum possible participation is sought and standardization is answered by richness arising from composition and co-configuration

6. the subjects themselves take the initiatives: collectives / primary schemes / base assemblies, with composition, co-configuration, mutual adjustment, self-control and self-criticism

7. relationships are horizontal which means equal participation of the members in the composition, co-configuration and ultimately in decision-making. They are determined by experience, consistency, the responsibility of each member and not by seniority or some other form of hierarchy. This condition also includes the responsibility of each person in carrying out the decisions of the general assembly

8. conflicts are resolved by composition, co-configuration, mutual interaction and retreats, communication and self-criticism

9. horizontal exchange of information, knowledge, positions, proposals, arguments, experience and conceptions constitutes the content of communication

10. mutual respect and trust derive from the consistency, participation and responsibility of each individual member.


H. Base Syndicalism doesn’t want sheep nor shepherds.

«I neither want to rule or to be ruled» – (Herodotus history)

Base syndicalism is by no means parthenogenesis. It derives from collective class experience, it is taught by the legacy of labour movement struggles since the late 19th century until today. Since our foundation in 2007, our proposals cultivate the soil of self-organization, horizontality and anti-hierarchy. The coordination we seek doesn’t want to be defined by sloppiness, haste, superficiality, emotional approaches, partisan expediency, vertical structures, centralization and hierarchy.

For 15 years, our primary base union for courier and delivery riders in all trades and branches of economy, for all workers with a two-wheels vehicle, has been part of grassroots trade unionism, in the field of theory and practice, in one of the most important class stakes to rebuild and counterattack.

And that’s why we don’t want, even with the best intentions (which is known to pave the way to hell) to consent to propositions and plans that either intentionally or unintentionally refer to normative models governed by bureaucratic and party conceptions of syndicalism, which the latter decades led the labour movement from defense and retreat straight to defeat and social depreciation and disdain.

As a primary union, through the process of the permanent assembly we draw our short-term tactics and our long-term strategy. We choose our political reference to be in the diversity of the movement and not in any specific political organization or party. We choose to invest in dialogue and interaction with diverse social, class and labour groups autonomies in the context of equal exchange, composition and co-shaping of opinions. We, the working world, the working class, are tired of being put down by those that insult our intelligence and betray our trust. We are disgusted by trade unionists who get rewarded with seats of power or progress hierarchically at the expense of our colleagues. And we will state it simply: how is it even possible to convince or inspire long-term the working base you belong to, when as a trade unionist you don’t even keep the pretences?

Professional party trade unionists, bureaucracy and selfish interests, drove syndicalism to disrepute, contempt, moral corruption and decay. The labour base, the working class, sees and judges those who use their long-term presence in party-derived trade unionism to get promoted under compensation to managerial positions, to be appointed at key points of the state mechanism, administrative councils and committees. As the working class, we see and judge their high earnings and the sponge-cake of professional trade unionists that got rich on our backs.

As a base union assembly, we are defined by the positions we elaborate, by the collective decisions we make through synthesis and co-shaping of the views of our members. Our decisions cannot be sold nor bought out as we have no paid members or professional staff, we have left no room for money to soften our views. Our positions do not emanate from parties or political organizations, inside or outside the parliament. They derive from the ongoing dialogue that we have had for 15 years with the movement, the working class, our members and colleagues. We take our participation in the multi-level life of the union as self-evident. In base syndicalism, each and every one of us devotes the time that corresponds best to their needs, the time we steal or our spare time. Base syndicalism thrives on little becoming much.

Base syndicalism cannot be carried out spasmodically. It requires consistency, persistence and duration as it is part of our collective everyday life. According to the capabilities and needs of every individual member, it combines the maximum and the minimum participation in the assemblies, discussions, analysis and predesigned direct actions. In the choice of tactics and the shaping of strategy. In writing texts, in the campaigns where we hand out the newspaper, the pamphlet, the leaflet, and hang posters. In the chat with the colleagues, in the resolution of practical and theoretical problems.

Each of us knows that base syndicalism is a collective occupation that has only moral rewards. And because it is a collective activity, it seeks to block the way to delegation, hierarchy and the opportunism of those who seek to promote their individual interests in the name of the working class. Base syndicalism, like every horizontal and anti-hierarchical process, is demanding. In order to take root, grow and flourish, it requires time for the expansion of the necessary dialogue and the ideological struggle concerning the problems and issues of society and class.

As base unionists, we stay faithful to our value principles, to the choice of self-organization, horizontality and anti-hierarchy. But at the same time, we are evolving in interaction with the political, social, cultural and economic environment. And even though we may upset many, even though we differ in entrenched positions that want trade unionism to be defined from the organization or party, we insist on our connection to the diversity of the movement. We insist in our belief that dialogue between equals and mutual interaction will lead our assembly into tomorrow. While the limitations imposed by the predetermined and rigid political guidelines of parties and political organizations have certainly led us into yesterday.

Base syndicalism, the type of grassroots syndicalism we serve, is not easy. But it relies on our own backs and it depends on our own hands. Against the current, with great effort and struggle we avoided dead ends, degeneration and the pathogenicity of the party trade union bureaucracy. We put an end to defeatism and brought an invisible profession to the fore. It is 15 years now that we advance contending, we advance with victorious struggles, we give content and hope to our profession and our class, developing the union on four axes, four key demands that are now common ground for all colleagues:

1) Company vehicle

2) Means of Personal Protection (MPP)

3) Hazardous occupation insurance

4) Unified Profession. A single profession for all riders with a two-wheels vehicle in all trades and branches of the economy.


For class re-organization and counterattack




Primary Base Union for courier and delivery riders in all trades and branches of the economy, “Base Union Assembly for Bike and Motorbike Riders” (S.V.E.O.D.)





[1] We refer to our assembly as permanent because we gather and discuss at least twice a week, being constantly in touch online and in person.

[2] Elected unionists are entitled to a number of paid union leaves depending on the number of the union members.

[3] Ρελαντί (French: ralenti). Which means: (engineering): the operating rate of a car or motorcycle engine at the lowest possible speed per minute, i.e., when the operator does not press the accelerator at all; (metaphorically) at idle: at a slow and relaxed pace.

[4]  ERGANI is an online system allowing employers to register themselves and their employees with Social Insurance Services electronically. Among other things, the system aims at combating illegal and undeclared work.


8 Φεβρουαρίου, 2023

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