Date: Wed, 5 Nov 1997 09:16:27 -0800
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Tom Walker <knowware@ISTAR.CA>
Subject: Luxemburg demonstration (fwd)
Europe has greatest concentration of wealth in the world. Today, it is three times richer than it was thirty years ago. So why is there so much inequality, injustice and unemployment? Why is there so much wide-spread poverty, bad housing and social exclusion? Why the attempt to force women off the labour market back into the home? Why the systematic expulsion of immigrants? Why is the European Social Policy just a lot of hot air?
In view of the extent of social problems, we are witnessing an emergence of social movements throughout Europe. These movements already exist on a national level . Now, for the first time, we are actually witnessing the emergence of a social movement truely European based.
There are two examples : the solidarity movement centred around the Renualt Vilvorde conflict, and more recently, the European March against unemployment, job insecurity and social exclusion. This March started out from every corner of Europe and converged on the Amsterdam Rally, June 1997, bringing together 35 000 people.
The Amsterdam demonstrators, like those who demonstrated for Renault Vilvorde, demand a different Social European policy. A radically different policy from that being put in place by the Maastricht Treaty convergence criteria or that of the Stability Pact, signed in Amsterdam. The primary effect of both these treaties involve cuts in social spending as an excuse for reducing budget deficits thereby effectively blocking any attempt to create a dynamic employment policy.
Are we going to Summit of hypocrisy? Are we going to accept the masquerade of governments hiding behind the "convergence criteria", the law of market forces and profits?
If nothing is done to counter balance the present situation, the Summit will end up with a negative result.
The European Commission has proposed that the European Union fix targets to curb unemployment. The Commission's proposed aims are to reduce the rate of unemployment over a period of 5 years from the 11% officially recognised to 7%. This target figure is completely inadequate. Even more so as there is no accompanying obligatory measures, that might lend some credibility to such an engagement, in view of the fact that the Stability Pact contains a string of measures, (including the possibility of heavy fines) for any governement not respecting the guidelines set out. Yet all this appears to be too much for Member States, as they have rejected these very propositions at a ministerial preparatory meeting of the Summit. In the same vein, the European Parliament refused, by just a few votes, two resolutions : one for a 35 hour week, the other, in favour of the Commission's propositions.
Confronted by such overt cynicism, only a mass movement, a movement on a European scale, can change the course of events. The Luxembourg Social Summit timetable could turn out to be a decisive step.
The so-called official European trade union movement, the European Trade Union Confederation(ETUC), did not mobilise for the Amsterdam Rally. Whereas now, on the contrary, ETUC has decided to call a European-wide demonstration in Luxembourg. Their demonstration will take place on Thursday, November 20, at 14h 30, a choice of day and hour which hardly permits a real mobilisation for those hundreds of thousands of wage-earners, unemployed and young people at Luxembourg who demand an alternative social policy.
Even the ETUC slogans are vague : a demand for a Social Europe, but without defining the fundamental revendications for a real change. Consequently, it is important that the European social movement can manifest their unity with the maximum force possible. It is for this reason that the network of associations and many trade unions involved in=
the organisation of the European Marches and the Amsterdam Rally have launched an appeal for a mass demonstration on Novembre 20, in Luxembourg, with two key slogans :
THE EUROPEAN MARCHES AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT, JOB INSECURITY AND SOCIAL
104, rue de Couronnes, 75020 Paris
tel. 00 33 1 44 62 63 44
fax. 00 33 1 44 62 63 45 Email : email@example.com
(Information Bulletin available on subscription)
Marches europeennes contre le chomage, la precarite et les exclusions
104, rue des Couronnes
F-75020 Paris France
e-mail : mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel : +33 1 44 62 63 44
Fax : +33 1 44 62 63 45
email@example.com (information en français, lecture seule)
firstname.lastname@example.org (information in english, read only)
email@example.com (discussion, read/write, lecture/ecriture)
Gestionnaire de la liste: F. Sauterey Fax : firstname.lastname@example.org