29 July 2015
Greek Tragedy shows EU Solidarity is in short supply
GMB sent a message of solidarity to Greek workers who staged a 24 hour strike earlier this month against the deal reached between the Greek government and eurozone leaders for a third bailout, which they say will just increase cuts and austerity. Fellow Greek public service union Adedy rejects the privatisation of public services and dangerous labour market reforms. This was the first strike action since Syriza came to power in January. Despite a majority of Greek people rejecting the terms of the bailout in a referendum at the beginning of July, the Greek Government felt forced to accept the deal to save Greece from a total financial collapse, stating pressure from eurozone leaders and international creditors left no other choice.
The bailout was approved in a vote in the Greek Parliament, with pro-European opposition MPs supporting it, though many Syriza MPs rejected it. The deal also had to be voted in the French and German Parliaments
The terms of the deal are harsh and will do nothing to help kick-start the Greek economy which so desperately needs to get back on its feet. Eurozone leaders have used the precarious position of Greece to enforce larger doses of austerity aimed directly at those who have least and have suffered most, with less emphasis on taking to task the tax evading multi-billionaires and investors who have been making profit out of the misery of the Greek people. A confidential study from the IMF reveals the new deal will go nowhere near far enough to solve the Greek crisis. A UN debt expert meanwhile has stated that Greece cannot take any more austerity, which will only cause more social unrest and reduce the chance of a future recovery.
Labour market reforms, including reviewing collective bargaining, industrial action and collective redundancies regulation seem to be the targets, as well as further ruthless cuts to pensions and hikes in VAT.
Privatisation is to be pushed with abandon by selling off €50bn of public sector assets as well as liberalisation of other sectors – a recipe we know from bitter experience just doesn’t work.
How is any of this going to help Greece or other countries in the EU affected by their crisis? The deal might have prevented a Greek exit from the Eurozone in the short term, but has done nothing to secure any stability or improvement to the economy on a sustainable level.
Greek people who are going to be paying dear for the foreseeable future will rightly be asking, if debt relief was good for Germany in 1953 why is it not good for Greece today? When did solidarity go out of fashion in Europe?
28 June 2015
GMB calls for Greek debt cancellation
GMB opposes the unjust pressure put on Greece, which is inhumane and lacking in solidarity, and has joined TUC and MPs in signing a letter to David Cameron urging him to agree debt cancellation, to be funded by recovering money from the banks and financial speculators who were the real beneficiaries of the bailouts. See the letter here.
GMB campaigning on EU crisis
The crisis that started in 2008 is far from over. GMB continues to campaign against crushing austerity measures and to urge EU governments and institutions to change direction and put people at the centre of their policies to get us out of the crisis.
GMB organised a major EU-funded conference in Manchester on 3 May 2012 on Sorting out the Crisis - What's the EU got to do with it?
Stephen Hughes on the Crisis conference panel
László Andor gives keynote speech at the conference
Judith Kirton-Darling and GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny
Further information and documentation on the conference can be downloaded in the Additional Resources below.
GMB has also written several articles on the crisis, which are also available to download in the Additional Resources below.
'Sorting Out the Crisis' - conference programme
'Sorting Out the Crisis' - background document
'Sorting Out the Crisis' - The Search for Solutions: follow-up report, conclusions and recommendations
We know only too well the threats and challenges that we have faced in recent years without a majority voice to defend and develop our social and employment rights and to fight for an alternative to austerity measures which, instead of solving the crisis, have made the lives of millions of Europeans so much worse.
The EU is set for jobless growth with no recovery in sight for Europe’s 27 million unemployed and at risk of poverty.
The EU Commission has unveiled plans on how to include a Social Dimension in the EU’s overarching economic union, which EU trade unions and Socialist MEPs continue to highlight as the only way to ensure job-led growth and a sustainable financial recovery.
5.6 million young people across the EU are currently unemployed. That’s the same as the entire population of Denmark.
We have all been following the escalating crisis in Cyprus with growing dismay over the misjudged attempts by the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers to find a solution to the country’s debt crisis.
With deepening outrage over the continuing attack on our Remploy workers with a further 800+ redundancies just before Christmas, David Cameron’s hypocritical call to get them into ‘mainstream jobs – the same as everyone else’ rings hollow.
An informal summit of EU leaders ended without any major progress on how to solve the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis.
As the UK slides back into recession and the Eurozone debt crisis rages on, Europe’s leaders are feeling the heat more than ever.
Despite the extreme pain of the cuts and austerity measures of the first rescue package, Eurozone leaders have prescribed yet more of the same in a second bailout for Greece agreed on 21 February.
Europe’s unions have come together in a strong, unanimous response to the worsening economic and social situation.
The storm clouds over the EU have reached dramatic heights and refuse to dissipate as the Eurozone debt crisis fails to subside.