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Posts Tagged ‘Unions’

Spanish unions protest retirement reform

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 7:57 am

Tens of thousands of Spanish workers staged strikes in 40 cities Saturday to protest state plans to up the retirement age to slash public deficit, the highest in the eurozone after Greece and Ireland.


The strikers gathered in central Madrid carrying red flags and holding placards such as “No to retirement at 67”, police said giving the estimates, adding they were essentially from the main UGT and CCOO unions.


“It’s a direct attack on the rights of workers, who have already suffered in the crisis for two years,” said Juan Carlos Caceres, a railway union leader.

A boy holds a placard reading, No to retirement at 67 during a rally in Madrid

Raising the retirement age “makes no sense because there is a very high level of youth unemployment,” said Maria Eugenia Marcos, an unemployed telecommunications worker.


However, the 56-year-old said the protests against the reforms were “weak” as many people realised that something needed to be done safeguard future pension pots.


The government aims to trim the public deficit from 11.1 percent of annual output last year to 6.0 percent in 2011 and three percent, the European Union limit, in 2013.


Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, the leader of the CCOO syndicate, threatened a repeat of a September 29 general strike in January when Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero unveils reforms which will see the retirement age increase by two years.


Zapatero reiterated his commitment to the reforms on the sidelines of a European Union summit on Friday, and his cabinet is expected to approve the measures on January 28.


Zapatero’s Socialists struck a deal on Wednesday with the conservative opposition on changes to the way pensions are calculated, although there is as yet no agreement on raising the retirement age.


The reforms are part of plans to soothe market fears that Spain could be dragged under by the tide of debt that has already drowned Greece and Ireland.


Adding to the concern over the nation’s finances and the potential implications for the eurozone, public debt rose to a 10-year high in the third quarter while bad bank loans struck a 14-year-high.

Source: SGGP

Greek unions call fresh protests ahead of austerity vote

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Greek unions mobilised Thursday for new demonstrations against draconian austerity cuts as the government raced to push the unprecedented measures through parliament a day after deadly rioting.

A protest near the Parliament building in the center of Athens.

The main unions called their members to new protests from 6 pm (1500 GMT) undeterred by the deaths of three people, reportedly including a pregnant woman, in a firebombed Athens bank the previous day when demonstrations degenerated.


Condemning “the fires, blind violence, vandalism”, the million-member GSEE private sector union said in a statement “we are determined to pursue and extend our struggle to meet our fair demands.”


As the government insisted it would not back down on the austerity drive, eurozone leaders scrambled to keep Greece’s debt crisis from spreading to other highly indebted countries like Spain and Portugal


The European Central Bank held one of its most crucial meetings ever in Lisbon to rein in the Greek debt crisis while eurozone leaders prepared to meet on Friday in Brussels to contemplate the future of their embattled bloc.


As unions prepared for a fresh round of demonstrations, Greek lawmakers were debating the government spending cuts and tax hikes with voting on the legislation due to begin in the afternoon.


Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told parliament the austerity drive, which eurozone countries and the IMF have demanded in return for a bailout, was the only option.


“The only way to escape bankruptcy is to accept the aid money, which reaches 110 billion euros… and the precondition is to agree on the three-year austerity plan,” Papaconstantinou said during the debate.


Average Greeks voiced sadness and bitterness in the streets of central Athens as the nation was still reeling from the shock killing of the bank workers.


“I’m sad and I’m angry because those people who threw the Molotov cocktails don’t respect the lives of other people,” said Chris, a 30-year-old who works for a small private company and who participated in the demonstrations.


Anita, who works in a bank not far from the bank that caught fire, said that the firebombing blamed on young hooligans was “the saddest thing that could ever happen to Greece”


“I was working in my bank, we saw the fire, it could have happened to me”,” she said. “This has nothing to do with the protests, the demonstration was peaceful.”


As protestors marched on Wednesday against the government’s plans to avert national bankruptcy and the strike shut down much of the country, some demonstrations turned violent.


Demonstrators tried to storm the parliament and hooded youths hurled petrol bombs at stores and businesses in central Athens, prompting police to respond with tear gas and charges.


Police said two women and one man died at a branch of the Marfin bank which caught fire after rioters broke a window and threw Molotov cocktails inside.


One of the women who died was four months pregnant, according to doctors quoted by the Greek press.


At least two other buildings — the Athens prefecture and one used by tax officials — caught fire after other firebomb attacks on the margins of the protests.


The general strike was the first major test of the Socialist government’s resolve to push through unprecedented measures since agreeing to a 110 billion euro (143 billion dollar) EU and IMF debt bailout at the weekend.


Officers arrested at least 12 people in Athens and another 37 in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where protestors also targeted stores and banks in the city centre before riot police dispersed them.


The violence in Athens sparked concerns on global financial markets that Greece’s huge bailout could veer off course and that its debt crisis could engulf other countries.


The euro dived to the lowest level for more than one year as the deadly protests in debt-plagued Greece cast a shadow over the future of the eurozone and the single currency, dealers said.


Moody’s ratings agency on Thursday warned that the fallout from the Greek debt crisis presented a risk of “contagion” for the credit rating of banks in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.


Spain helped investors immediate fears of contagion after the government successfully raised 2.345 billion euros in the country’s first debt sale since its credit rating was cut last week.


 

Source: SGGP

Activities commemorate 79th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Unions

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm




Activities commemorate 79th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Unions


QĐND – Thursday, March 25, 2010, 21:16 (GMT+7)

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) Central Committee met on March 25 to mark its 79th anniversary (March 26) and honour 10 outstanding youth union secretaries.


Vo Van Thuong, first secretary of the HCYU, reviewed the glorious history of the youth during the two resistance wars and pledged that young people today will do their utmost to serve the Vietnamese people, the Party and the nation.


On behalf of the Party and State, Ha Thi Khiet, secretary of the Party Central Committee (PCC) and head of the PCC’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation applauded the youths’ achievements, saying they should play a key role in the process of industrialization, modernization and international integration. She urged youth union committees at grass-roots level to actively engage in emulation programmes, aimed at increasing production reducing poverty, protecting the environment and solving other social issues.


*** On the occasion, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Huynh Dam sent a message of congratulation to the HCYU Central Committee, youth union members and other young people all across the country.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND