Next in the “rising tide of world labor protest” file comes the September 29 labor actions in Europe. Unions and supporters all over Europe are calling for action against planned austerity measures by their governments – everything from wage and pension cuts to mass layoffs in social services. Labor organizers throughout Europe will be joined in rallies and demonstrations by retirees and students.

A massive labor-led march in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, will be a center piece of the action. Organizers are expecting upwards of 100,000 demonstrators from around the continent. Participating union federations in Spain, Portugal, Britain, Ireland, Lithuania, France, Greece, Germany, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Italy, Serbia, Latvia, and Poland have protests planned for the day. The actions range from a general strike in Spain, to several industry-wide strikes in Portugal and several other countries to rallies and demonstrations.

International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrows, (ITUC) is calling on the demonstrators to demand “Robin Hood taxes” to pay for the economic crisis and putting people back to work. These include stock transaction taxes and others aimed at raising taxes on big business and the super rich. The ITUC is one of the chief organizers of the September 29th actions.

The September 29 actions come on the heels of some pretty big anti-austerity actions in the past few weeks, including major strike actions in Britain and France. In addition, on September 7, World Federation of Trade Union affiliates around the world held similar actions in 20 countries, including in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East.

These global actions come as labor, civil rights, immigrant rights, peace and others are mobilizing in the United States for the October 2 One Nation march on Washington for jobs. October 2, besides being a critical action for jobs and economic justice, will also be one of the largest 2010 election rallies. As buses, trains and cars arrive in DC, hundreds of thousands more will be joining labor walks, phone banks and local rallies around the country. The October 2 mobilizations for jobs will also energize and organize hundreds of thousands to get out and vote on November 2.

All of these actions call for more communication, exchange and contact between labor and progressives globally. Workers of the world are fueling a rising tide of anger and fight back!



Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.