Austerity Sparks EU Protests

European UnionStrike action and violent protests erupted across the European Union today, as frustrated workers, called out by their unions, unleashed a coordinated wave of fury against the austerity measures that are making life increasingly stressful for those in the nether regions of the economic spectrum.

The strikes and protest actions were launched by the European Trade Union Confederation – an umbrella body that incorporates some 85 labour organizations in the EU. The European labour movement is in total rejection of economic austerity, which unions say forces workers to bear an unfair burden of hardship caused by unwise economic policies and government irresponsibility.

The European labour movement is demanding that governments take steps to protect vulnerable workers from the crippling effects of measures designed to rein in galloping national budgets, returning EU governments to general financial stability.

Following a decision by Greek voters to impose further austerity measures on themselves, the European Central Bank can now contemplate disbursing 31.5 billion Euros in bailout money. This is the fifth such bailout for the reeling Greek economy since the global meltdown threatened to force Greece out of the Eurozone.

It is largely fear of the potentially disastrous effects of a Greek default on national debt and subsequent departure from the Eurozone that has prompted even tight-fisted Germany to approve further support for Greece. Though they may yearn for the good old days of the Mark, German workers understand the need to shore up weak EU economies so that their own jobs might be preserved in a healthier world economy.

But these very same workers deeply resent having the burden – and the price – of reckless fiscal policies and over-promising by ambitious politicians placed on their shoulders; and ,with joblessness still rising across the EU, the spectacle of Greek workers voting further pain on themselves sparked a furious reaction is such countries as Spain, Italy, Portugal and of course Greece.

The strikes have disrupted mass transit, air travel, manufacturing industry, commerce and schools. Rallies and protests took place in 23 EU countries overall, including Belgium, France and even in Germany, where workers are feeling the pinch of economic contractions elsewhere and austerity at home.

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