SIPTU has described the EU Permanent Austerity Treaty as the worst possible response to the economic crisis. In a grim warning the general president, Jack O’Connor, claimed it amounted to a contraction in the face of the “most serious recession since the 1930s.”
The treaty’s twin-pronged approach of cutting public spending and raising taxes, he predicted, would have a far-reaching effect on people’s lives. “It is hard to imagine a worse response to the challenge of recession and stagnation. It’s not about stimulating job creation through investment: it’s actually the reverse.”
O’Connor claimed that EU leaders’ talk of “restructuring” was code for the most savage assault on gains made by working people since the Second World War. “It’s about reducing pension provision, cutting public services, eroding people’s rights at work, and driving down the cost of labour.”
Trade unions have organised a wave of protests throughout Europe about the new Permanent Austerity Treaty over the past month. The day of action on 28 February publicised the “anti-social and anti-democratic” aspects of the treaty—part of a series of centrally driven austerity agreements endorsed by EU leaders.