For an all Europe march against unemployment!
On 21 June, representatives from unemployed organisations from all over
Europe met in Florence, Italy to organise an all Europe march against
unemployment. The delegates were from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany,
Holland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Among the organisations represented
were Agir Ensemble Contre le Chomage / France, CGIL Unemployed Information
Centres / Italy, TUC Centres for the Unemployed / Britain and the national
leadership of the CGT / Spain. There were also letters of support from many
other countries and organisations. Plans were made for marches to take place
from all over Europe to converge on Amsterdam on the 27 June 1997. It was
agreed a further meeting to discuss progress for the marches would take
place on 21/22 September, 1996 in Paris.
The Florence meeting issued the following appeal:
A European March against Unemployment, Job Insecurity and Exclusion.
There are 20 million registered unemployed in the European Union today and
50 million people live below the poverty line.
We could all, one day, be affected by unemployment and poverty. The
breakdown of the welfare state, increasing unemployment and the onslaught of
poverty are attacking people's dignity, as witnessed by lower standards of
working conditions, dropping incomes and welfare benefits to the lowest
possible level, inciting racism by encouraging inequality. At the same time,
the people are not in control of either the capital, the land or the means
The situation is totally unacceptable.
The European Union has started discussions on the future of the Union within
this year's Intergovernmental Conference.
We refuse to let the discussions be limited to institutional questions
allowing measures which claim to favour employment yet actually contribute
to job insecurity. All the indicators show that the real social problems
which preoccupy people in every country will not be tackled at all.
We believe that, on the contrary, the only way forward is a targeted attack
on the causes of unemployment with a radical, political solution.
Above all, our immediate objective is for all the unemployed, those on low
incomes and the disadvantaged to be allowed a dignified life-style and for
small-holders to live off their land. This includes, for both nationals and
immigrants, the right to housing, education, health, freedom of movement,
sexual equality and a decent living wage
This programme calls for:
- A Europe of full employment where anyone with the will to work can do
so for a decent living wage.
- The creation of new jobs, in professions including health, education and
the protection of the environment, which respond to the needs of society.
- A different distribution of wealth, ensuring taxation of financial
A massive drop in unemployment can be brought about during a period of
increased productivity, by a substantial reduction in working hours without
a drop in wages and with an immediate increase in recruitment.
To ensure that the programme is acted on by the politicians, all those who
sense the menace of exclusion and insecurity - workers, the unemployed,
small-holders, the young, the retired - must act as a single group
We are calling for European Marches against Unemployment, Job Insecurity and
To continue the campaign for the Spring of 97, the signatories call for:
- the creation of national committees to organise the marches, grouping
together unions, the voluntary sector and individuals to action at a
- participation of all interested groups and individuals at the Colloquy
called to launch the campaign at Brussels, January 1997
Report for LabourNet by Glenn Voris
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