Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7
ATHENS – Agence France Presse
Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.
“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.
#14N: European General Strike
Soulevons-nous! Erheben wir uns! Solleviamoci!
Last month, Portugal’s largest trade union CGTP called a general strike for November 14 against the “exploitation and impoverishment” of the Portuguese population.
The union stressed the need to change government policies “for the sake of a better future” and urged all to join in the protest against the government and its recently announced austerity measures for next year. Turning its back on CGTP, the country’s second largest trade union UGT decided to go it alone, with leader João Proença saying his union would not be joining the general strike due to CGTP’s “divisive and partisan intent”, like calling a general strike without previous discussion. “This strike is against the government, but also against UGT,” said Proença, adding that his union may organise another general strike in the near future.
Now, Spain’s main trade unions have announced that they too will join the strike on November 14 and thus “celebrate the first Iberian general strike”, said Fernando Lezcano, spokesperson for the trade union federation Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras, which called the strike in agreement with its counterpart Unión General de Trabajadores and other smaller unions, after a week of protests against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government.
Greece recently held its second general strike in three weeks and the head of Greece’s trade union federation General Confederacy of Greek Workers (GSEE), Ylannis Panagopoulos, has already declared that another general strike would be held on November 14.
Meanwhile, other South European countries may consider joining Portugal, Spain and Greece in the protests, after the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) enticed all European countries to oppose austerity in the face of the current economic crisis. After a meeting in Brussels on October 17, the ETUC’s executive committee called for a “day of action and solidarity” for a Social Compact for Europe, on November 14.
In Belgium some unions are open to action. These include Metal Lois Wallonie-Bruxelles (FGTB), the FGTB region Liège-Huy-Waremme and ACOD LRB (Local and Regional Authorities) Brussels, and also the FGTB Jeunes. The union ACV domes, and ACLVB AVBB are considering a demo. Source: “Towards a European general strike!”
Malta and Cyprus: also known as two of the countries where strikes will occur on 14 November. Same source as above.
France: Five trade union movements calling for demonstrations on 14 November in the framework of N 14, these being the CGT, the CFDT, FSU, the UNSA and Solidaires. Source: “Austerite: 5 syndicats appelent to manifest and France le 14 Novembre”.
UK: activists of the Civil Service Rank and File Network, an initiative of officials who want to fight against attacks on their rights from government and management, calling for a day of action on 14 November to hold against deterioration of their working conditions. Source: “Call for a day of action against attacks on civil service terms and conditions”. The call refers to the strikes that were announced previously in other countries on that day, and calls on people to join the strike initiative.
Italy to join Greece, Portugal and Spain in European mega strike
Italy will join Greece, Spain and Portugal in holding strikes against austerity on November 14 in an unprecedented show of co-ordinated action on the Continent.
The decision to take a four hour strike was announced Monday night by Italy’s largest trade union confederation, CGIL, which stated:
‘For many years, the European trade union movement deplores austerity measures…They are dragging Europe down into economic stagnation and recession. This results in stunted growth and unemployment that continues to increase.’
‘Cuts in wages and social protection are attacks on the European social model and exacerbate inequality and social injustice.
‘The ‘errors of judgment’ of the International Monetary Fund have had an incalculable impact on the daily lives of workers and citizens. The whole basis of the policies of austerity has to be revisited. The IMF must apologize. And the Troika must revise its demands.”
‘Twenty five million Europeans are out of work. In some countries the youth unemployment rate exceeds 50%.
‘The sense of injustice is widespread and social discontent is growing.”
‘We need to change direction towards a European social pact. The European trade unions are calling for a change of course.”
The European Trade Union Confederation, which has called a day of action on November 14, has been campaigning for economic policies that stimulates quality employment, ‘solidarity’ between countries and social justice.
‘It is time to end tax evasion, tax havens and tax competition between countries. A financial transaction tax should help repair the damage of unregulated capitalism,’ the CGIL added.
The CGIL’s strike was also called in opposition to a fresh set if austerity measures and neo-liberal reforms recently unveiled by the government of unelected prime minister and former Goldman Sachs advisor Mario Monti.
Spain and Portugal are planning on holding a second wave of general strikes on November 14 while Greece, Malta and Cyprus are also planning strike action on the day.