GWU denies general strike action for ‘anti-austerity day’

Unions to decide whether to follow ETUC directive for general strike.

Unions' general strike in Spain - the ETUC is to hold similar demos for anti-austerity day in Europe.
Unions' general strike in Spain - the ETUC is to hold similar demos for anti-austerity day in Europe.

The General Workers Union, Confederation of Maltese Trade Unions, and the confederation Forum Unions Maltin were expected to meet today Monday in a bid to discuss and decide on what action to organise in Malta, as part of a European Trade Union Council (ETUC) resolution which calls for a 'Day of Action and Solidarity' against Europe-wide austerity measures on November 14.

The ETUC resolution was approved during a meeting of its executive committee in Brussels last October, which calls for strikes, demonstrations, rallies and other actions, against Europe-wide austerity measures.

International news reports said this week that the "Maltese, Spanish, Portuguese, the Greek and Cypriot trade union confederations, have announced general strikes against austerity and the Troika's dictate."

Contacted, GWU sources denied agreeing to a general strike as part of the ETUC day of action, but said that a meeting is expected to be held tomorrow between officials from the GWU, the CMTU and Forum in a bid to discuss and agree on what action is to be taken in Malta in solidarity with their European counterparts.

On its website, the ETUC says that "the official position of the Maltese government is that Malta did not have to resort to austerity measures to counter-balance the effects of the international financial crisis and the recession that ensued. However, several important cuts and reforms have been adopted."

The ETUC's declaration, adopted by its executive committee on October 17 in Brussels says that trade unions "expressed their strong opposition to the austerity measures that are dragging Europe into economic stagnation, indeed recession, as well as the continuing dismantling of the European social model."

"These measures, far from re-establishing confidence, only serve to worsen imbalances and foster injustice," the trade unions said.

They added that while supporting the objective of sound accounts, the ETUC's  executive committee considers that the recession can only be stopped if budgetary constraints are loosened and imbalances eliminated, with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth, and social cohesion, and respecting the values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Our Government hides its austerity measures in high fuel prices, high utility tariffs, high tax plus excise on telephony, road tax etc. Yes, Maltese unions must call for a general strike and we the workers will follow their dictum.