Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Workers join Europe cuts protest

Brendan Barber said that governments across Europe have become obsessed with immediate deficit reduction

Workers are to take part in rallies and protests across the UK and in Brussels as part of a day of action against Government spending cuts and austerity measures adopted by many European countries.

Delegates at the Labour party conference in Manchester will stage a lunchtime protest, holding up hundreds of signs in different languages in support of public sector jobs and services.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "All across Europe governments have become obsessed with immediate deficit reduction and are embarking on cuts programmes of such magnitude that the fragile recovery of the continent's economies is threatened."

He said: "Unions aren't asking governments to ignore the deficit, just to discard the timetable that demands deficit reduction now and instead to concentrate on boosting growth and jobs. We also need a fairer system of taxation so that Europe's economies can get back onto a firmer footing and avoid the risk of another recession.

"If there was ever a case why severe cuts in spending are not the answer we need look no further than across the Irish Sea where the spectre of a double-dip recession is looming large, and where despite huge cuts in spending, Ireland faces another austerity budget, its fourth in two years."

Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, said: "Nurses, social workers, dinner ladies and teaching assistants are fed up of taking the flack for a crisis caused by greedy bankers. We must protect these committed public sector staff, who work tirelessly to provide vital services to the vulnerable, poor and sick.

"It is the public sector that will help us recover from the recession, but cutting hard and fast is not just devastating the lives of committed public sector staff, but also their families, communities and local businesses. We know that there are alternatives to the savage plans proposed by the ConDem Government and we must look at these - everyone in Europe deserves to live in a fair society."

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said: "Workers across Europe face the same threat to jobs, pensions, public services and that threat originates from exactly the same source - the centralised banks and the political elite who do their bidding. It would be madness for us in Britain not to co-ordinate our response with other European workers under attack.

"The whole of the EU project was constructed to deliver a bankers Europe aimed at breaking up and privatising public services and hammering down on living standards and job security to deliver the pro-business agenda."

A large group of workers will travel from Britain to join a march in Brussels which will be led by John Monks, general secretary of the European TUC, accompanied by the leaders of 50 trade union organisations representing workers from 30 countries.

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