November 24, 2010 / 1:20 PM / 9 years ago

Factbox: Anti-austerity protests around Europe

(Reuters) - Here are details of some of the major recent and forthcoming protests in European countries as Portugal’s biggest unions staged their first joint general strike in more than 20 years on Wednesday.

* PORTUGAL:

November 24 - Portugal’s biggest unions, the CGTP and the UGT, disrupted transport and halted services from healthcare to banking in protest against wage cuts and rising unemployment in the first joint general strike by the top two unions since 1988.

* BRITAIN:

Oct 3 - A 24-hour strike by workers on London’s underground rail system disrupted much of the network. A strike on November 3 forced millions of commuters to struggle to work in their third walkout since September in a dispute over 800 planned job cuts. Another 24-hour strike is planned to start on November 28.

October 19 - Britain’s trade unions took protests over spending cuts to parliament, promising to fight to protect public services. Unions have said they would first focus on a campaign of political pressure to fight cuts but agreed to take coordinated strike action if the government failed to change tack over austerity measures.

November 10 - About 55,000 students took part in a demonstration in London against the government plans to triple university tuition fees up to 9,000 pounds. A small group took part in protests at Millbank Tower, home to the Conservative Party headquarters, which saw windows smashed and missiles hurled at police. Around 66 people were arrested.

November 24 - Thousands of students and pupils staged walkouts and marches across Britain against government plans to almost triple tuition charges to up to 9,000 pounds ($14,500) a year.

* FRANCE:

— The pension reform was signed into law by President Nicolas Sarkozy on November 9. The reform raised the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60 and the full retirement age to 67 from 65 to balance the loss-ridden pension system by 2018.

— Fierce opposition by trade unions and the French public, who staged a sustained wave of protests over austerity measures, turned the reform into the biggest battle of Sarkozy’s presidency. Unions mobilized nationwide street protests eight times since early September and rolling strikes at oil refineries caused serious fuel shortages at one stage, but the strikes are over and the turnout for protests slumped.

* GREECE:

May 4-5 - Public-sector workers staged a 48-hour nationwide strike. On May 5, a 50,000-strong protest in Athens led to violence in which demonstrators fought police and three people were killed in a petrol bomb attack on a bank.

June 29 - Police fired tear gas at rioters shouting “burn parliament” in Athens. About 12,000 people joined marches during a strike against raising the retirement age to 65 for all.

July 8 - About 12,000 people marched against pension reform in the unions’ sixth 24-hour strike against austerity measures.

Oct 7 - Civil servants stopped work for 24 hours, protesting against EU/IMF prescribed austerity measures despite a waning turnout.

November 10 - ADEDY, the public sector union, said it would also join private sector workers in a 24-hour general strike planned for December 15, to protest against job cuts and austerity measures.

November 22 - Greek private sector union GSEE called for a pan-European strike in 2011 to take joint action against austerity measures.

* ITALY:

June 12 - Thousands marched in Rome against cuts in funding to local authorities and a freeze on public sector salaries.

June 25 - The CGIL, Italy’s biggest union with 6 million members, held rallies in Rome, Milan and other cities to try to force the government to redraft its austerity package.

October 16 - Thousands of Italians marched in Rome in a rally organized by the FIOM metalworkers union and backed by the CGIL to protest the bleak outlook for jobs and demand more rights for workers.

* SPAIN:

June 8 - The two largest unions said that up to 75 percent of 2.3 million public sector workers joined a strike against planned labor reforms.

June 22 - Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s minority government won approval for its labor reform bill in parliament after opposition parties abstain. On June 30, underground rail workers walked off the job for a third day, affecting 2 million commuters.

Sept 29 - Spain’s first general strike in eight years, called to oppose spending cuts, disrupted transport and factories but the impact was limited as most Spaniards appear to resign themselves to austerity to trim a massive deficit.

* CZECH REPUBLIC:

November 8 - The main Czech labor union called a one-day strike of public sector workers for December 8 to protest against the government’s planned wage cuts and layoffs. Such strikes are rare in the central European country, whose center-right government has pledged to balance its budget by 2016.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;

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