The two biggest trade unions in Greece – GSEE and ADEDY, announced that a new nationwide 24-hour strike would be organised on May 20, against the government’s pension reform. The two trade unions have organised a number of joint strikes since the beginning of the year, aimed against the government’s measures for strengthening the economy, which lead to serious cuts of wages and pensions, and a higher tax burden. The strike on May 20 will be mainly orientated against the reform in the pension-assurance system, according to which the pensions would be reduced, while the retirement age would be raised.

The latest strike at Athens’ Piraeus port blocked two cruise ships with 5,000 passengers on board. The Armonia and Musicale cruise ships and their 5,000 passengers have been staying blocked outside the port for three hours because of the strike of tugboat workers.

Eventually, the ships will have to berth at the port without using the services of a tugboat.

A guides from one of the ships commented for Skai radio station that these actions bear negative effect on tourism, which is the only source for revenues in the country, adding that other ships with around 15,000 cruisers are expected next week.

The government of Romania has estimated that it will save some RON 5,39 billion in the second quarter of the year, or 1.06% of GDP, by slashing salaries of public servants by 25% as of July 1.

In addition, the cabinet expects to save RON 5,2 billion more, or 1% of GDP, by cutting social benefits, including pensions by 15%.

Due to the cost reduction the public servants will stage a demonstration in Bucharest on May 19. Some 40,000 people are expected to come.

About 200 Romanian unionists were protesting Thursday outside the presidential palace in Bucharest and call on the president and government to resign because of the austerity plan authorities announced, Romanian Mediafax news agency reported.

About 300 other unionists were picketing the Government headquarters.

Protesters brought banners with messages like „Resignation”, „You lied, you need to go”, and one displaying a photo of Prime Minister Emil Boc that reads „Incompetence has a human face”.

Romanian authorities announced drastic spending cuts and plan to fire 70,000 public workers this year. Romania is also set to slash public sector wages by 25% and pensions and social benefits by 15%. Meanwhile, although the flat tax and VAT remain unchanged, the government is working on legislation to tax food vouchers, capital gains and increase property taxes.

Spain’s unions threatened to call a general strike to protest austerity measures aimed at reducing the country’s deficit back to EU guidelines and calming markets, Reuters reported.

„We radically reject this austerity plan and both unions are starting protests that could lead to a general strike very soon,” Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, the general secretary of Spain’s biggest union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), told reporters on Thursday.

Portugal on Thursday ordered deep wage and spending cuts and higher taxes to slash the public deficit by more than half as Spanish unions called strikes against public sector wage cuts, AFP reports.

As governments stepped up their war on debt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the whole European Union would be under threat if the euro was allowed to fail in the debt crisis. But global shares mainly rose as markets took cheer from efforts made so far by governments to control deficits.

After Greece’s financial turmoil and debt downgrade to junk status, international attention has turned to Portugal and Spain, which have also had their debt ratings lowered.

According to media reports Italy is also considering slashing the budget costs, which might lead to more protests in Europe.

Read the article on Focus Information Agency (Bulgaria)

A wave of strikes due to crisis in Europe (ROUNDUP)

The two biggest trade unions in Greece – GSEE and ADEDY, announced that a new nationwide 24-hour strike would be organised on May 20, against the government’s pension reform. The two trade unions have organised a number of joint strikes since the beginning of the year, aimed against the government’s measures for strengthening the economy, which lead to serious cuts of wages and pensions, and a higher tax burden. The strike on May 20 will be mainly orientated against the reform in the pension-assurance system, according to which the pensions would be reduced, while the retirement age would be raised.

The latest strike at Athens’ Piraeus port blocked two cruise ships with 5,000 passengers on board. The Armonia and Musicale cruise ships and their 5,000 passengers have been staying blocked outside the port for three hours because of the strike of tugboat workers.

Eventually, the ships will have to berth at the port without using the services of a tugboat.

A guides from one of the ships commented for Skai radio station that these actions bear negative effect on tourism, which is the only source for revenues in the country, adding that other ships with around 15,000 cruisers are expected next week.

The government of Romania has estimated that it will save some RON 5,39 billion in the second quarter of the year, or 1.06% of GDP, by slashing salaries of public servants by 25% as of July 1.

In addition, the cabinet expects to save RON 5,2 billion more, or 1% of GDP, by cutting social benefits, including pensions by 15%.

Due to the cost reduction the public servants will stage a demonstration in Bucharest on May 19. Some 40,000 people are expected to come.

About 200 Romanian unionists were protesting Thursday outside the presidential palace in Bucharest and call on the president and government to resign because of the austerity plan authorities announced, Romanian Mediafax news agency reported.

About 300 other unionists were picketing the Government headquarters.

Protesters brought banners with messages like „Resignation”, „You lied, you need to go”, and one displaying a photo of Prime Minister Emil Boc that reads „Incompetence has a human face”.

Romanian authorities announced drastic spending cuts and plan to fire 70,000 public workers this year. Romania is also set to slash public sector wages by 25% and pensions and social benefits by 15%. Meanwhile, although the flat tax and VAT remain unchanged, the government is working on legislation to tax food vouchers, capital gains and increase property taxes.

Spain’s unions threatened to call a general strike to protest austerity measures aimed at reducing the country’s deficit back to EU guidelines and calming markets, Reuters reported.

„We radically reject this austerity plan and both unions are starting protests that could lead to a general strike very soon,” Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, the general secretary of Spain’s biggest union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), told reporters on Thursday.

Portugal on Thursday ordered deep wage and spending cuts and higher taxes to slash the public deficit by more than half as Spanish unions called strikes against public sector wage cuts, AFP reports.

As governments stepped up their war on debt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the whole European Union would be under threat if the euro was allowed to fail in the debt crisis. But global shares mainly rose as markets took cheer from efforts made so far by governments to control deficits.

After Greece’s financial turmoil and debt downgrade to junk status, international attention has turned to Portugal and Spain, which have also had their debt ratings lowered.

According to media reports Italy is also considering slashing the budget costs, which might lead to more protests in Europe.

Read the article on Focus Information Agency (Bulgaria)

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