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AltAusterity Digest #113 September 26 - October 2, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Oct 04, 2019

The Social Democratic government of Denmark announced Wednesday that it planned to reverse years of austerity by increasing spending for healthcare, education and welfare. The new government, which won power on June 5th, has said they will pay for the policy shift by raising taxes on businesses. In additional to higher business taxes, the government aims to crack down on tax fraud, bring back an inheritance tax, and impose higher duties on cigarettes and other goods. The minority government will have to seek support for its budget from its left-wing allies.

Workers in Greece struck on Wednesday to protest labour reforms proposed by the new conservative government. This strike, largely undertaken by private sector workers, follows a public strike one-day strike last week. The government is set to introduce legislation that unions say would curb their right to strike. This decision comes following an IMF call for further flexibility in the country’s labour market. Despite exiting their bailout programme, Greece is still being monitored by creditors. This includes provisions that Greece target primary surpluses for the next 40 years.

Polls are predicting a return to power for the Socialist Party (PS) in the Portuguese elections Sunday. However, there is uncertainty over whether it will be a minority or majority as the Social Democrats have closed the gap in the polls. The current government is led by the PS and is supported by the Left Bloc and Community Party-Greens coalition. While the coalition was not expected to make it past its first budget, it has proved quite resilient by lasting a full parliamentary term. While the PS has staffed all the government posts and taken credit for negotiating budgets with the European Commission, the Left Bloc and Community Party-Greens has acted as the radical flank to ensure progressive policies have been rolled out. If the polls are accurate, this election may return the same result.

Ontario school board workers are set to strike on Monday. The 55,000 workers representing caretakers, office staff, early childhood educators and educational assistants represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are set to hit the picket lines next week unless an agreement can be reached. CUPE has said its main issues revolve around job security after school boards shed hundreds of positions and issued cutbacks to balance their budgets. The government and school boards are also trying to strip sick days from workers. Teacher unions expressed support for the strike, but said their members are legally required to cross the picket lines.

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation.