Millions of people in Spain, greece and Italy went on strike on Wednesday (5 April) in the first coordinated European protest against unemployment on the continent.
Millions of people in Spain, greece and Italy went on strike on Wednesday (5 April) in the first coordinated European protest against unemployment on the continent. It was timed to exert pressure on European Economic Community member-governments before their summit meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, this weekend (7 and 8 April). Workers in Spain, Greece and Italy staged token strikes for one to four hours. But in mist countries the protest was confined to rallies, appeals to the national government and distribution of leaflets.
SYNOPSIS: In Spain, stoppages of up to an hour cut transport and communications and halted production in most large factories.
In the Spanish capital of Madrid, trade union officials said about four million workers responded to the call. The protest, organised by the non-Communist European Trade Union Confederation, was not intended to cripple daily activity. But it was seen as the forerunner of more extensive labour action against unemployment in Western Europe.
As well as buses, underground trains also came to a standstill in Spain.
Things returned to normal, though, as soon as the strike hour came to an end.
It Greece, the strike lasted three hours. Workers downed tools and public transport employees withdrew labour. Teachers, journalists, printers, bank clerks and postal workers also joined the protest.
Union officials say total unemployment in Western Europe is approaching eight million, including six million in the nine EEC countries.
Italy is one of the worst-hit nations. while the strikes and protests were going on, trade union officials met European leaders and employers' representatives. The meetings took place in Brussels, Luxembourg, Copenhagen and Vienna. Their aim was to press for quick action to solve the unemployment problem.
The trade unionists want employers and governments to do something fast to give jobs to women, young people and migrant workers -- the groups most severely affected by the crisis. On Thursday (6 April), the Trade Union Federation president, Heinz Oskar, of West Germany, met Danish Prime Minister, Anker Joergensen who is chairman of the EEC summit, and demanded swift action against unemployment.