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ISSUE 55 page 4

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Soaring unemployment in Greece and Spain as austerity measures bite

LATEST FIGURES FROM EUROSTAT, THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION”S statistical arm, show that reeent cuts in spending, whether undertaken by national governments or imposed on them from outside, as in the case of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, are having a big negative impact on unemployment. Although, in April, 17 EU countries recorded a fall in their totals and some economies were booming (see page 2), those following austerity policies were clustered at the wrong end of the league table. The biggest rise in the past year has been in

Greece where Eurostat say 14.1% of the work force were unemployed at the end of last year, up from 10.2% in 2009, but more recent reports from within the country give a figure of 15.9% for last February. The strictures from Brussels and Washington have been tightest on Greece but Spain, where there has been no bail-out but the government has applied its own squeeze, is in last place with 20.7% without a job. Figures for youth unemployment make even starker reading: Greece records 40.4% for people aged between 15 and 24 in February while Spain’s 44.4% in April beggars belief

Unemployment rates in April 2011, seasonally adjusted




Weekend football strike successful in Norway
IT SEEMS THAT FOOTBALL IS SUCH A profitable business that one weekend without matches is enough to bring employers to the negotiating table. That’s what happpened in Norway after the players’ union, NISO, withdrew their members’ labour for a round of matches in May. The clubs conceded the demand for one week’s holiday in the summer (the Norwegian season runs from March to November) and set up a task force on the other main issue of the make of boot to be worn (clubs currently make their players use the brand with whom they have sponsorship deals). Other achievements included restrictions on the employer’s ability to terminate contracts, no more part-time contracts for full-time footballers and more chances to combine education with pro football. Norwegian-born Blackburn star Morten Gamst Pedersen (right) fully supported the strike, writng on his Internet blog that the players were seeking ‘basic labour rights’ including that to  ‘choose the tool he needs to do the job’ i.e. boots.  

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