Spanish unions demand referendum on balanced budget law
The main Spanish union confederations (CCOO, UGT and USO) have called major demonstrations in Madrid, Barcelona and other major cities on Tuesday 6 September, demanding a referendum on a new measure supported by the Governing socialists in the PSOE and its right-wing opposition.
They are proposing a new constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets as a way to ‘regain the confidence of the markets’. But the unions – and over a hundred civil society organisations – argue that what the markets really want is growth, and that growth is the only way to restore the public finances – exactly what the TUC has been arguing in Britain.
In a statement issued by CCOO today, they say that the constitutional reform is based on the wrong diagnosis of the problem: “the recent turmoil in the stock markets and in the debt markets has been caused mainly by the sharp fall of the growth rates of the European and US economies in the second quarter of the year”, and the statement goes on:
“This procyclical reform does not help reducing public deficit levels at all. The latter can only be tackled if the economic and social development of a country is not seriously impaired. Economic growth and employment have to be promoted, a fair sharing of the burdens of a now permanent crisis has to be ensured, and there has to be a greater rigor in the use of public spending.”
A referendum requires the support of 10% of MPs or senators, and the unions already have the support of the United Left, a Green Party called EQUO and the left wing nationalist parties of Catalonia and Galicia.