RIGA - The European Trade Union Confederation’s European ‘Day of Action,’ due to take place on Sept. 29, has nothing to do with any political parties, says Latvian Free Trade Union Association Chairman Peteris Krigers, commenting on political party Harmony Center’s call for everyone to participate in the strike on Sept. 29, reports news agency LETA. It is very regrettable that one political party simply uses this occasion as part of its election campaign, said Krigers.
Krigers explained that the Latvian Free Trade Union Association is a member of the European Trade Union Confederation and participated in making the decision for the European ‘Day of Action.’
The Latvian Free Trade Union Association and its members will participate in the protest. Krigers said, though, that it will not necessarily be a general strike, and that the planned activities will be discussed in more detail in August.
Harmony Center on July 29 called for Latvian trade unions, non-governmental organizations and employees to take part in the European Union-wide general strike in protest against austerity programs being implemented by EU governments.
“The financial crisis in Europe has created 23 million unemployed. Even more EU citizens feel insecure about their future, and social pressures continue to increase. The sole reaction of EU governments to this situation has been the application of austerity measures, which in many cases create negative consequences for social unity and national growth,” says a Harmony Center statement.
The party promised to stand against salary and pension reductions, youth unemployment, and the growth in poverty and social inequality. “We wish for a social EU and solidarity between its citizens, especially young people, pensioners and women,” says the statement. The party called for Latvian trade unions, non-governmental organizations and employees to join the protest, and to demand “a socially responsible Europe.”
Politicians from other political parties have said that Harmony Center’s announcement was a political trick, coming just before the parliamentary elections, and they hoped that people would not respond to the “provocation.” Head of New Era’s Saeima group Dzintars Zakis noted that “People have already realized that austerity measures were necessary, and I hope that they will ignore Harmony Center’s pre-election appeal.”
The European association says that the Sept. 29 protest is to be a ‘Day of Action’ in order to stand up for growth and social equality. The action will be timed to coincide with a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels.