May 15 2009 - Europe’s workers are getting ever more riled about the slumping economies and job losses around the continent. Euronews reports big rallies in Madrid and Bucharest on Thursday. Friday there were demonstrations in Brussels, Belgium.
The European economy has thus far shrunk by some 2,7% in 2009, and experts are expecting it to shrunk another 0,3% in 2010, according to the OECD. Little Belgium has been particularly hard-hit, with hundreds of thousands of unemployed people forming a ‘growing army of unhappy people,’ reports the Belgian news media. Read more here in Flemish
For the past week, workers at the French-owned Fiat company have been occupying the buildings of its affiliate IAC in Brussels, protesting against the restructuring of the company. Fiat wants to only keep a showroom in Brussels and remove the Fiat garage facilities, ending several hundred jobs. Click here for report in Flemish from Brussels
Pictures, far left: the Fiat facility in Brussels, occupied by workers. Right: Fiat wants to close down its large workshop in Brussels and only keep its showroom, causing several hundred job losses…
Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned up in Madrid on May 15, and from all across Europe in a gesture of pan-European trade unionism, and solidarity with Spanish workers, whose construction-dependent economy has been very hard-hit by the recession.
There were similar scenes in the Rumanian capital where private and public sector workers joined to call for an action plan against the recession, and demand job protection from the government.
Euronews reports that ‘these demonstrations are further evidence Europe’s workers are not feeling the positive effects of government stimulus plans just yet, and want more action. They also appear to be losing patience with their politician’s promises they are doing all they can.”
Video: background on reasons for job losses in Europe: