Romanian workers protest and Greek workers strike over unfair austerity measures
Public sector workers fight back against cuts
(20 May 2010) Faced by government plans to cut pay, pensions and public services, EPSU affiliates in Greece and Romania have taken to the streets to show their anger. Today’s general strike in Greece is the latest in a series of actions called by the ADEDY public service confederation and the GSEE private sector confederation. The unions are angry that their members are being forced to pay for a crisis that has its roots in the international financial crisis but made worse by the errors and cover-ups of previous governments.
In Romania, the government has been in discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over getting the next tranche of the 20bn loan package agreed last year. Having already frozen public sector pay and agreed to a series of other reforms, the government now intends to impose a 25% cut in public sector pensions and a 15% cut in pensions and social benefits.
Romanian unions met with the government and presented a series of alternative measures to help get the country out of the crisis. These were, however, rejected by the government which intends for press ahead with the cuts. The IMF has agreed to the government package although it had put forward a range of alternative measures focusing more on increasing revenues.
Yesterday’s 30,000-strong demonstration failed to generate a response from the government and trade unions are now planning for a general strike before the end of the month unless the government agrees to talks.