ETUC organises European Day of Action for Employment

A number of information campaigns and protest actions are planned across the European Unions and in Central and Eastern Europe to highlight the European Trade Union Confederation's demands in the run-up to the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in Amsterdam in June 1997.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has published more information about the activities to be launched as part of its "European Day of Action for Employment", to take place all across the EU as well as in some Central and Eastern European countries on 28 May 1997.

ETUC's executive committee has called the Day of Action to "make the workers' voice heard at the Intergovernmental Conference and the Amsterdam European Summit" (ETUC Press Report 13-97). It argues that, as the "economic and social crisis" continues, reorganisations, privatisations and relocations are undermining the structure of the economy and employment. ETUC has repeatedly called for the inclusion of an "employment chapter" and fundamental social rights in the revised Treaty, and supports the implementation of coordinated economic and industrial policies at European level to stimulate the creation of high-quality employment.

Employment will be the key theme of rallies, awareness building and information campaigns in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and the UK. A selection of planned events in these countries are as follows:

  • Austria- major events and protests are planned to coincide with the governmental conference on 27 May. A union delegation will present the ETUC's demands to the Chancellor. Rallies will also be held in the different Länderon 28 May, and a media event will be staged, when the public will be invited to sign a gigantic postcard setting out ETUC's demands for employment policy;
  • Bulgaria- elections are imminent in this country and a new government is expected to take office in the second half of May. ETUC's demands will take centre stage at May Day rallies and in union representations to the new government and parliament;
  • Czech Republic- unions are planning an awareness-raising campaign, as well as lobbying public authorities;
  • Finland- demonstrations and festivals will take place in a number of major towns under the banner "Europe must work". Radio programmes will broadcast the unions' demands and lobbying activities will be organised;
  • France- there will be a central rally in Paris and a union delegation will meet President Jacques Chirac;
  • Germany- a series of actions surrounding the theme of employment includes a public conference on "Europe and employment" in Frankfurt;
  • Hungary- an organised "down tools" is planned for 28 May, and workplace meetings will be held to discuss job creation and maintenance;
  • Italy-a number of major rallies and events have already taken place and on 28 May, sit-ins will be organised outside government and employers' organisation offices;
  • Netherlands- on the Day of Action, a human chain will be formed around the national bank building and a manifesto will be handed in to senior bank officials;
  • Poland- picket lines and protests will be staged outside the Employment and Economic Affairs Ministries. There will also be an information campaign in the national and regional press;
  • Sweden- television programmes are planned to link in with the Day of Action and teachers will pay special attention ot social and employment problems in their lessons; and
  • UK- a conference and cultural event will take place in London and a media information campaign is planned.

Further details are yet to emerge on a number of actions. This is the largest ever event coordinated by the European trade union movement, and highlights the concerns of the labour movement in the aftermath of the Renault crisis (EU9704118F), and in the run-up to to the deadline for Economic and Monetary Union.

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