From Scotland to Greece and from Portugal to Poland, public sector workers on Wednesday will protest against austerity measures in more than 25 European countries, following a call for action by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU). The programme will include strikes, demonstrations and public marches.
In Britain, unions are planning the largest strike since 1926 to oppose changes to public sector workers’ pensions. In Portugal, trade unions will demonstrate as the parliament votes on new austerity measures. In Spain, EPSU affiliated trade unions will organise a rally outside the official representation of the European Commission in Madrid. In France and Bulgaria, there will be national demonstrations.
Belgian trade unions will protest outside Greek and UK embassies in solidarity with Greek and British unions, followed by a national demonstration on 2 December. Greek trade unions will hold a general strike on 1 December.
The unions’ federation accuse the European Commission of designing public administration reforms
“on purely economic terms without looking at how to develop quality public services that are so badly needed in these times of economic crisis.”
EPSU General Secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel said
“Europe needs to make a credible stand on sustainable development, fair taxation, investment in public services, more equality and less poverty.
“This European day of action is the beginning of a process to give European people a real sense of unity; the current policies in Europe will destroy all we have fought for in the last decades.”
Among the proposals the unions want to push ahead there are the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) with a minimum tax rate, increased taxation on the wealthiest, stepping up action to end tax havens and to fight corruption and tax fraud, and a functional separation between investment and retail banking.