Wednesday, 18 May 2011

CGT union warns of discontent at ‘pact for the euro’

Bernard Thibault, head of the CGT, France’s biggest trade union said European unions would be stepping up their protests against the Franco-German “pact for the euro” adopted by eurozone members last month. Te pact aims to strengthen economic co-ordination in the eurozone, including proposals on wage restraint and pension policies.

The pact is negative for workers and counter-productive for economic growth. It has made labour costs the mechanism for exiting the crisis. The systems of social protection are not the origin of the international financial crisis – it is totally illusory to think that increasing social vulnerability will facilitate recovery,” Mr Thibault said.
The European Trades Union Congress, which brings together unions in 36 countries, including Ireland, would “debate new perspectives of mobilisation” at its congress on May 19, Mr Thibault said, including co-ordinated protests.
Meanwhile, widespread protests have erupted in Greece in a violent reaction to government plans for €76bn of fresh cuts and nationalisations. The protests and strikes, which shut hospitals, grounded flights and stopped docking ferries, were timed to coincide with a mission by IMF and EU officials to the country. Demonstrators shouted "Take your memorandum and go" in a marked contrast with Ireland where they walk unbothered around Dublin.

The country's biggest public sector and private sector unions backed Wednesday's general strike, the second this year, to protest against planned sales of state assets; a similar sale in Ireland is assured by the conclusions of the recent McCarthy Report. It was also reported that Greece was close to agreement for "supplemental" EU/IMF loans of €50-60bn to meet its financing needs in 2012 and 2013.

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