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May 18, 2021

Thousands attend UK-wide protests over cuts

Demonstrations continue in France after Senate passes controversial retirement reform bill.

Union activists have taken part in a series of protests across the UK on Saturday as part of a campaign against the government’s spending cuts, BBC News reported. Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Bob Crow told a London rally collective action was needed to fight the cuts. It comes after the TUC said a national demonstration will be held on 26 March next year in London’s Hyde Park.
Chancellor George Osborne announced deep public spending cuts on Wednesday. About 490,000 public sector jobs are likely to be lost as part of the cuts – the deepest and most wide-ranging by a government in decades. The government says the cuts are necessary to reduce the UK’s GBP 155 bln deficit and strengthen the UK’s economy in the long term. It aims to save GBP 83 bln in four years.

Crow told demonstrators the movement needed to be built up “into the housing estates, into the workplaces, into every part of society and say we aren’t paying the price for the corruption of the bankers”. He predicted the UK-wide rallies would “kick-start a tidal wave of protest”.

Meanwhile, strikes continued in France and the country is bracing for another day of demonstrations this week over a new retirement reform bill that the country’s Senate passed on Friday, Voice of America reported. President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

A hundred or so demonstrators waving red flags and many wearing yellow stickers calling for a retirement at sixty gathered in Paris this weekend. They oppose the government’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age two tears, to 62 and full retirement from 65 to 67. The bill has sparked protests for more than two weeks from transport strike that has disrupted rail services and airports, and a blockade on refineries, fuel depots and ports that has left many gas stations empty. The French government says the reforms are necessary because of a large fiscal deficit.


Hungary announced new austerity measures, with Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy saying that the government plans to cut the number of public sector employees by 10 percent and reduce material expenditure by 5 percent next year, according to MTI. The government will discuss the 2011 budget on October 27 and cooperation talks can be started after that date about planned changes in the number of public sector employees and budget spending, Matolcsy said.

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