Portugal's Main 725,000-Strong Union Considering General Strike
Who would have thought permanent austerity and a government crisis would lead to popular unhappiness. Well, the General Confederation of Portuguese Worker, better known as Portugal's largest union, for one. From Reuters: "Portugal's largest labour union is considering calling a general strike as it steps up protests against painful austerity measures that are expected to deepen under an EU/IMF bailout, its leader said on Thursday..."A general strike is an instrument that is on the agenda."" And with 725,000 members, and the certain shutdown of the Portuguese economy that would ensue, it is perhaps time to consider what will happen in Spain and soon all of Europe as the wave of austerity started almost a year ago spreads, and what the impact to European GDP (and thus global) will be. But most importantly, where will the credit money come from to push the world from this latest imminent downturn. After all Jon Hilsenrath telegraphs to us that there will be no QE3. And who are we to disagree.
"This is not the time to be silent. It has to be the time for protest, action and responses," he said.
Portugal launched talks on Tuesday with European authorities and the International Monetary Fund on a bailout that is expected to total 80 billion euros. The bailout deal is expected to include further tax hikes, spending cuts and privatizations.
Carvalho da Silva said the union rejected "external intervention" as it would stoke a rise in poverty and unemployment.
He stopped short of setting a date for a general strike, but said the union plans to intensify its protest campaign, starting with nationwide rallies on Labour Day on May 1.
The bailout is expected to be approved in mid-May just as Portuguese parties campaign for a snap general election on June 5. Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigned last month after the opposition rejected his austerity measures.
Will protests pull a "Greece" and turn violent?
Protests have mounted in Portugal during the sovereign debt crisis, but remained peaceful so far. Several hundred thousand marched in two rallies in Lisbon last month and public transport workers have staged intermittent strikes for weeks.
Surely the bulls will find the good news in all of this: on one hand the world is experincing a supply crunch from Japan. On the other hand, "prudent" European fiscal policy is resulting in demand destruction. Put the two side by side, carry the decimal zero, and equilibrium prices will end up staying the same. What better reason to BTFD.