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14 November - Day of Action and Solidarity against austerity

13 November, 2012Trade unions across Europe took to the streets yesterday for an angry day of action, 14 November, in a united front rejecting the antisocial austerity measures spreading throughout the continent.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)-led “Day of Action and Solidarity” had IndustriALL members marching and striking shoulder to shoulder with workers of all industries, in 23 countries.

The failed economic policies of austerity make workers and their families pay the price for the financial and economic crisis, stagnate the economy, deepen a recession and increase unemployment, particularly youth unemployment.

Repeated government attacks on the social model in Europe since 2008 have cut salaries and social protections, weakened labour rights and fundamental public services like education and healthcare, widening inequality and fostering injustice.

On 14 November millions of Europeans took to the streets to shout “austerity isn’t working”. 

There were historic simultaneous strikes in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium. It is the first time in history that Spain's trade unions have conducted a general strike twice in a year, as they fight to save the welfare state in that country. Spanish protestors furious at government bailouts to the banks while home repossessions have spread through Spain leading to high profile suicides, were met with police violence and mass arrests. In France alone there were 25 different manifestations. Trade union national centres in many countries lobbied national and European-level politicians, demonstrated outside their offices and delivered workers’ joint message calling for jobs, growth and fiscal justice.

The ETUC has drafted a proposal for a New European Social Contract, calling for a return to the fundamentals of the European social model, solutions reached through dialogue with trade unions and other social partners.

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina joined manifestations in Geneva which started in the banking district and then in moved on the consulates of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. See General Secretary Raina's address outside the Portuguese consulate in the video attached.

Massive protests were staged on 6 and 7 November in Athens to oppose the Greek Parliament’s adoption of a further €13.5 billion austerity measures demanded by the country’s creditors to unlock a further €31 billion tranche of bailout funds from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund bailout, still to be confirmed. At least 12 demonstrators were wounded and another 103 detained by police in protest actions.

In Germany the DGB national centre organized gatherings and assemblies in several cities. One of the major actions took place in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

See more details on the actions on the ETUC website here.