Wednesday 14 November is a European day of action against austerity, for jobs and growth, called by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). There will be events and campaigning across the European Union, from general strikes in the Mediterranean member states to demonstrations and lobbies further north.
The TUC mounted its protest against austerity with our huge march for a future that works on 20 October (along with similar demonstrations in Belfast and Glasgow), joined by trade unionists from across the Channel. Tomorrow we will be concentrating on lobbying (in London and Brussels) and online work. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and TUC President Lesley Mercer will be handing in a letter to European Commission President Barroso at Europe House in Westminster. Others in the movement will be protesting more publicly, and the TUC’s General Secretary Designate, Frances O’Grady, is speaking at one of those rallies in Central London.
If you want to get involved from your PC, tablet or phone, there will be infographics to share, solidarity pledges to take, an ETUC Facebook page and the #14nov2012 hashtag. The TUC website will carry reports on the countries worst affected and the ETUC website has pages on every country involved – including an online map of solidarity actions.
There will be action of some kind in every country in the EU and solidarity messages from unions around the world. The level of action – and in some cases the date – varies: it would have been ridiculous for the Greek unions to delay last week’s two-day general strike until tomorrow just for the sake of consistency, given that it was last week that their Parliament debated the latest round of austerity measures. The precise nature of the austerity drive differs from country to country, as does the timing and the political culture that determines how protests are voiced.
But the ETUC Social Compact for Europe shows that the attack on welfare states, on working people’s livelihoods, and on democratic institutions is all heading in the same direction. So must be our response – a refusal to accept that working people who did nothing to cause the crisis should pay the price.
So join in the action on the web, in your workplaces, and, where possible, in public! We’ll be publishing further reports throughout the day.