FACTBOX-Anti-austerity protests around Europe

Nov 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Here are details of some of the major
recent and forthcoming protests in European countries as
Portugal’s biggest unions staged their first joint general
strike in more than 20 years on Wednesday. [ID:nLDE6AN0CJ]

* PORTUGAL:

Nov. 24 – Portugal’s biggest unions, the CGTP and the UGT,
disrupted transport and halted services from healthcare to
banking in protest against wage cuts and rising unemployment in
the first joint general strike by the top two unions since 1988.

* BRITAIN:

Oct 3 – A 24-hour strike by workers on London’s underground
rail system disrupted much of the network. A strike on Nov. 3
forced millions of commuters to struggle to work in their third
walkout since September in a dispute over 800 planned job cuts.
Another 24-hour strike is planned to start on Nov. 28.

Oct. 19 – Britain’s trade unions took protests over spending
cuts to parliament, promising to fight to protect public
services. Unions have said they would first focus on a campaign
of political pressure to fight cuts but agreed to take
coordinated strike action if the government failed to change
tack over austerity measures.

Nov. 10 – About 55,000 students took part in a demonstration
in London against the government plans to triple university
tuition fees up to 9,000 pounds. A small group took part in
protests at Millbank Tower, home to the Conservative Party
headquarters, which saw windows smashed and missiles hurled at
police.Around 66 people were arrested.

Nov. 24 – Thousands of students and pupils staged walkouts
and marches across Britain against government plans to almost
triple tuition charges to up to 9,000 pounds ($14,500) a year.

* FRANCE:

— The pension reform was signed into law by President
Nicolas Sarkozy on Nov. 9. The reform raised the minimum
retirement age to 62 from 60 and the full retirement age to 67
from 65 to balance the loss-ridden pension system by 2018.

— Fierce opposition by trade unions and the French public,
who staged a sustained wave of protests over austerity measures,
turned the reform into the biggest battle of Sarkozy’s
presidency. Unions mobilised nationwide street protests eight
times since early September and rolling strikes at oil
refineries caused serious fuel shortages at one stage, but the
strikes are over and the turnout for protests slumped.

* GREECE:

May 4-5 – Public-sector workers staged a 48-hour nationwide
strike. On May 5, a 50,000-strong protest in Athens led to
violence in which demonstrators fought police and three people
were killed in a petrol bomb attack on a bank.

June 29 – Police fired tear gas at rioters shouting “burn
parliament” in Athens. About 12,000 people joined marches during
a strike against raising the retirement age to 65 for all.

July 8 – About 12,000 people marched against pension reform
in the unions’ sixth 24-hour strike against austerity measures.

Oct 7 – Civil servants stopped work for 24 hours, protesting
against EU/IMF prescribed austerity measures despite a waning
turnout.

Nov. 10 – ADEDY, the public sector union, said it would also
join private sector workers in a 24-hour general strike planned
for Dec. 15, to protest against job cuts and austerity measures.

Nov. 22 – Greek private sector union GSEE called for a
pan-European strike in 2011 to take joint action against
austerity measures.

* ITALY:

June 12 – Thousands marched in Rome against cuts in funding
to local authorities and a freeze on public sector salaries.

June 25 – The CGIL, Italy’s biggest union with 6 million
members, held rallies in Rome, Milan and other cities to try to
force the government to redraft its austerity package.

Oct. 16 – Thousands of Italians marched in Rome in a rally
organized by the FIOM metalworkers union and backed by the CGIL
to protest the bleak outlook for jobs and demand more rights for
workers.

* SPAIN:

June 8 – The two largest unions said that up to 75 percent
of 2.3 million public sector workers joined a strike against
planned labour reforms.

June 22 – Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s
minority government won approval for its labour reform bill in
parliament after opposition parties abstain. On June 30,
underground rail workers walked off the job for a third day,
affecting 2 million commuters.

Sept 29 – Spain’s first general strike in eight years,
called to oppose spending cuts, disrupted transport and
factories but the impact was limited as most Spaniards appear to
resign themselves to austerity to trim a massive deficit.

* CZECH REPUBLIC:

Nov. 8 – The main Czech labour union called a one-day strike
of public sector workers for Dec. 8 to protest against the
government’s planned wage cuts and layoffs. Such strikes are
rare in the central European country, whose centre-right
government has pledged to balance its budget by 2016.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;)

FACTBOX-Anti-austerity protests around Europe