Keep Talking Greece
The Portuguese state-sector technical staff union STE called a general strike against austerity measures (Photograph: All Rights Reserved)
Recent protests and strikes in Greece, Portugal and Spain demonstrate that the population increasingly opposes and rejects the imposed austerity measures that throw into rash impoverishment millions of households without perspective for the future. As well as a total overthrown of labour rights and national collective bargains. As the situation for many EU citizens is deteriorating the trade unions finally woke up to call for a Pan-European action with a clear message in the direction of Brussels.
A large, joint action is planned for November 14th 2012, organized by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) with strikes, demonstrations and rallies across Europe.
So far trade unions in Greece, Portugal and Spain have called for a general strike on that day, while there is informatin that also trade unions in France, Italy, Belgium, Malta and Cyprus will join the Pan-European mobilization whilst apparently more with solidarity actions than with general strikes.
ETUC day of action and solidarity for a Social Compact for Europe
Declaration adopted by the ETUC Executive Committee at their meeting on 17 October 2012
1. The ETUC Executive Committee meeting on 17 October 2012 call for a day of action and solidarity on 14 November 2012, including strikes, demonstrations, rallies and other actions, mobilising the European trade union Movement behind ETUC policies as set down in the Social Compact for Europe.
2. They express their strong opposition to the austerity measures that are dragging Europe into economic stagnation, indeed recession, as well as the continuing dismantling of the European social model. These measures, far from reestablishing confidence, only serve to worsen imbalances and foster injustice.
3. While supporting the objective of sound accounts, the Executive Committee consider that the recession can only be stopped if budgetary constraints are loosened and imbalances eliminated, with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth, and social cohesion, and respecting the values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
4. Fiscal consolidation had a sharper effect than originally estimated by Institutions, including the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Indeed the IMF now admits that they grossly miscalculated the impact austerity measures have on growth. This miscalculation has an unmeasurable impact on the daily life of workers and citizens the ETUC represents, and brings into question the whole basis of austerity policies advanced by the Fiscal Treaty and imposed by the Troika.
5. The Executive Committee note mounting opposition among citizens and workers in the countries concerned and reaffirm their support for affiliated unions fighting for decent working and living conditions. This situation results from the lack of coordination of economic policies and the absence of minimum social standards throughout Europe. In the context of free movement of capital, this gave free rein to competition between states, in particular in the field of taxation, labour costs and social conditions.
6. They reiterate that social dialogue and collective bargaining are central to the European Social Model. They strongly oppose the frontal attacks on these rights, at national and European level. The ETUC Executive Committee urgently calls for immediate adoption and transposition of the European social partners agreements currently before Council. (Full ETUC declaration here)