PRIVATISATION, LOW pay and job cuts are provoking resistance across Europe. The last week has seen a rash of strikes and protest.
PUBLIC SECTOR workers in Portugal staged a one-day general strike last Friday in protest at a government plan to impose a wage freeze. Hundreds of thousands of workers joined the action.
The right wing government of Jose Durao Barroso wants to freeze the pay of half of all public sector workers, and limit the rest to a 2 percent rise. The government is also attacking pension rights for pubic sector workers.
The government wants to slash public spending to comply with strict budget limits set for countries which adopted the euro currency.
A RASH of transport strikes has been hitting Italy, adding to the pressure on the right wing government of Silvio Berlusconi.
Workers at the publicly owned Alitalia airline have staged a series of strikes over job cuts and a pay freeze linked to a drive to privatisation, and plan more action. In Milan bus, rail and metro workers have staged a series of lightning strikes in recent weeks.
The strikes have won workers a better deal. A national one-day strike of transport workers was set for this Friday.
GAS AND electricity workers, rail workers, airport workers and health workers all staged strikes and demonstrations in France last week. Postal workers are also set to strike.
Gas and electricity workers struck first last Tuesday against moves towards privatisation. On Wednesday rail workers struck demanding better pay and against thousands of threatened job cuts.
On Thursday health workers struck and demonstrated over staff shortages and fears of privatisation. The same day workers at airports around Paris struck over threats of privatisation.
The left calls for a new party
HELOISA HELENA, the senator expelled from Brazil's Workers Party (PT) of president Lula, has joined with three expelled MPs, trade unionists and well known left wing intellectuals. They have issued a call for the formation of a new party of the "Socialist and Democratic Left".
Heloisa has been one of the most popular figures in the Workers Party. She was expelled for voting against a law cutting public sector pensions.
The call argues for "an alternative mass party of struggle, against the neo-liberal model and the government which is applying it, in defence of the demands of the working class.
"The party will be pluralistic, democratic and internationalist, free of any sectarian spirit, open to all who see themselves as from the left and identify with socialism and democracy."