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NEWS: European Day of Action and Solidarity now underway

Protesters shout slogans during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, early this morning. Photo by Andres Kudacki/ Associated Press

Protesters shout slogans during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, early this morning.” Photo by Andres Kudacki/ Associated Press

The ‘European Day of Action and Solidarity’ has begun. Reuters reports, “Millions of workers went on strike across Europe to protest spending cuts they say have made the economic crisis worse. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, car factories and ports were at a standstill and trains barely ran in Spain and Portugal where unions held their first ever coordinated general strike. …International rail services were disrupted by strikes in Belgium and workers in Greece, Italy and France planned work stoppages or demonstrations…”

The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity this day of action and solidarity across Europe.

The European Trades Union Convention (which called for today’s co-ordinated strike) has put this vision forward as an alternative to austerity measures:

-Economic governance at the service of sustainable growth and quality jobs;
-Economic and social justice through redistribution policies, taxation and social protection;
-Employment guarantees for young people;
-An ambitious European industrial policy steered towards a green, low-carbon economy and forward-looking sectors with employment opportunities and growth;
-A more intense fight against social and wage dumping;
-Pooling of debt through Euro-bonds;
-Effective implementation of a financial transaction tax to tackle speculation and enable investment policies;
-Harmonisation of the tax base with a minimum rate for companies across Europe;
-A determined effort to fight tax evasion and fraud;
-Respect for collective bargaining and social dialogue;
-Respect for fundamental social and trade union rights.

Updates on today’s action can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/nov/14/eurozone-crisis-general-strikes-protest-day-of-action. The Reuters article is at http://business.financialpost.com/2012/11/14/enough-is-enough-anti-austerity-strikes-sweeps-europe/.

Canada’s trade minister Ed Fast will be in Europe in less than a week to work to finalize the terms of the controversial Canada-European Union free trade agreement. For Council of Canadians commentary on austerity measures, please see http://canadians.org/austerity.