Trade unions are gearing up for a day of protest action aimed at fighting cuts and austerity measures across Europe. The European Trade Union Confederation is organising a major demonstration to defend public services – and demand jobs and growth – in Brussels on September 29.
TUC assistant general secretary Kay Carberry will be one of the speakers at the rally. The confederation is hoping to get 100,000 trade unionists from around Europe onto the streets of the EU capital, while similar protests take place simultaneously in other member states. The TUC voted this week in favour of an all out campaign against the austerity cuts in Britain.
John Monks, general secretary of the ETUC, said: “This is the worst economic crisis in the post-war history of Western Europe. Our campaign is against austerity and for jobs and growth instead. Cutting in a recession, cutting when unemployment is already high, cutting when economic growth is low, cutting labour rights and pensions – this is wrong. We are particularly alarmed over rising inequalities. We call for a rethink and a change. We are mobilising – they will have to listen to us.”
The ETUC is predicting a general strike in Spain, and protests in Portugal, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Poland.
In response to the financial crisis, the unions are demanding the introduction of an EU-wide tax on financial transactions – the Robin Hood tax – to avoid taxpayers being forced to bail out the banks again in the future and to fund public investment, as well as greater fiscal co-ordination and transparency to prevent social dumping.