Struggles, Workers

Austerity, unemployment and poverty

In order to speak out against the cutbacks that the British government is imposing – cutbacks that affect the rights of workers – protests in the UK are being organized for the 1st of May.

 

Austeridad, desempleo 06International Workers’ Day has always been a date for social and labour demands. It has its origins in the labour movements, which claimed worker rights in city streets from 1886.

The first protests demanded working days of eight hours, greater freedom for workers, and even stopped the production of large companies in the US and Canada. Since then, and in the current context, workers have not given up fighting for their rights.

Austeridad, desempleo 11The current economic situation has seriously affected the labour market. The latest data from January 2013 confirms that in the Eurozone, the level of unemployment reaches data records of 11.9%, which means 19 million people are out of work.

It is believed that in 2012, two million European citizens lost their jobs. Some figures are growing, and this has been accompanied by a stagnant economy in crisis due to the austerity measures that many governments are implementing.

European trade unions agree that the cuts are resulting in a large number of job losses, more poverty and greater social inequality.

In Brussels recently, 400 lawyers specialising in employment law, who share this opinion, signed a manifesto against the austerity.

The experts’ document says that “the current financial and economic crisis puts considerable pressure on workers and their rights in many countries”.

Austeridad, desempleo 03For that reason, there have been protests in countries including Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy. But, the sound of whistles and the sight of banners donning rejection messages have also, in recent months, been visible in the UK. In England, Prime Minister David Cameron has adopted a series of measures to cut back basic benefits,  including healthcare.

Despite fierce opposition, the Prime Minister has had to recognise that whilst setting 2015 as the target date, these adjustments will continue until 2018.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has also recognised that economic growth will not be as positive as he had hoped for 2013 and will stay at 1.2% as opposed to the 2% he had forecast some months back.

Austeridad, desempleo 13Some measures are concerned with the destruction of employment that is occurring in Great Britain and in the record unemployment figures of those who live on the islands. According to data from the Office of National Statistics, in February, 2.5 people were out of work.

For that reason, and because all this coincides with International Workers’ Day, on the 1st of May, all citizens, groups, organisations and unions are being called together  to form part of a General Strike that rejects austerity policies that are as damaging to the English as they are to Europeans.

For more information visit the website.

 

(Translated by Caroline Gutierrez – Email: carolinegutierrez@btinternet.com)

 

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