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The Guardian/UK

Why We Strike Against Austerity: 'It's Our Only Hope'

The constant deterioration of the economic crisis in Europe, especially in south Europe and Greece, has stirred a wave of reactions across the continent. The wisdom of the central political options laid out by the EU, and its persistence in implementing austerity policies that extend social disparities, are the most challenged issues. Governments are now confronted by their own citizens.

In this context, the policy pursued in Greece over the past few years, on the pretext of saving the country from the risk of huge public debt and bankruptcy, is socially unfair and has clear ideological features. It is expressed through the following policies: a continuous wage and pension cut, attacks on labour, social security and social rights, the heavy taxation on private property and the threat of further dramatic public services restrictions.

Such extreme neoliberal policies limit the rights of all workers and vulnerable social groups, in favour of bankers and lenders. They are leading our people to poverty and misery. It is obvious that the solution lies in implementing policies promoting social justice, which would overthrow the doctrine of "competitiveness". There is no doubt that Europe needs a new orientation and implementation of policies that lead to stabilisation, development, progress and prosperity.

The common and co-ordinated struggle of the trade unions in all European countries is necessary today more than ever. This is our only hope for exiting the crisis.

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Tania Karayiannis

Tania Karayiannis is international officer and member of the executive committee of Adedy, the union of civil servant employees.

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