EPSU sends solidarity greetings to the Portuguese unions striking against austerity

(26 June 2013) Both the CGTP-IN and UGT trade union confederations have called a general strike for tomorrow 27 June. The confederations, including EPSU affiliates, are protesting at the government’s implementation of austerity policies demanded by the troika – the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Two years after the signing of the Troika agreement, Portugal is facing a shrinking economy, increased unemployment and poverty, greater inequality, lower wages and declining investment. And all the forecasts suggest that worse is to follow before any sign of an upturn. The economy contracted again in the first quarter of 2013 (-0.4%) at twice the rate of the Eurozone (-0.2%). Portugal now has the third highest rate of total (17.8%) and youth unemployment (42.5%) after Spain and Greece. And far from falling the government debt ratio rises as economic output (GDP) falls. It is now over 120% compared to less than 85% in 2009. Portugal clearly needs an urgent alternative to austerity and this is the message that the trade unions are taking to the streets tomorrow. EPSU fully supports this action in the face of a government and troika that are ignoring the evidence that austerity has failed, not just in Portugal but across Europe.