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Europe rocked by austerity strikes: Eurozone.

General strikes swept through a host of European countries on November 14 as trade unions led a coordinated action against austerity measures

There are more than 25 million unemployed Europeans--about one in every eight people in the eurozone is now jobless.

Millions of workers in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Germany stopped work and marched against government cutbacks that have seen unemployment skyrocket. In Spain, it was the second general strike this year to protest at budget cuts.

"The sacrifice is not being shared by the whole of society: the economic and financial elites are spared and some even benefit from it, protected by the government. This is why we will be striking," said Fernando Lezcano from the Spanish trade union confederation.

Italian unions led a four-hour general strike to protest against labour reforms instituted by Prime Minister Mario Monti's government.

The five main French unions organised around 100 protests across the country to protest at "shock treatments" in Greece, Spain and Portugal. Unemployment in France has been on the rise for 17 months.

In Greece, unions say there have been continuous wage and pension cuts and attacks on labour, social security and social rights. Purchasing power has dropped 35%.

"Extreme neoliberal policies limit the rights of all workers and vulnerable social groups in favour of bankers and lenders. They are leading our people to poverty and misery," said Tania Karayiannis from Adedy, the Greek public sector workers' union.

"The common and coordinated struggle of the trade unions in all European countries is necessary more than ever. This is our only hope for exiting the crisis."

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Publication:The Lamp
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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