ETUC day of action
14 November 2012
The following text has been sent to us by CGTP-IN, one of the two main national union confederations in Portugal, as part of the ETUC's 14 November 2012 day of action against austerity and for growth and jobs. They have also presented an alternative to the current state budget, aiming to increase state taxes on the rich and reduce cuts on the poor.
The CGTP-IN National Council, meeting on 3 October, decided to convene a general strike on 14 November 2012.
Please find below excerpts of the General Council Resolution:
The gigantic CGTP-IN demonstration of 29 September, transforming Lisbon's largest square (Terreiro do Paço), into a true People's Square, was an extraordinarily vigorous and important political and social event.
The hundreds of thousand Portuguese who participated and voiced out the immense cry that across the country is being heard against the austerity measures imposed in the bail-out programme, showed their determination to increase the struggle, put an end to this policy and change the current course.
Portugal cannot continue being submitted to a government whose class option is submitted to big capital, with increased sacrifices for the workers and people, only to satisfy the private interests of economic and financial groups.
There is a brutal offensive including cuts in salaries and pensions, deregulation of working hours, increased unemployment and job precariousness.
The National Council therefore decides:
Lisbon, 3 October 2012
Against exploitation and impoverishment - For a Portugal with a future (Synthesis)
The proposal for the 2013 State Budget, presented by the PSD/CDS government, clashes with the interests of the country and of the Portuguese, because it chooses recession, with immediate consequences in company closures and in Job destruction, in higher unemployment and in widespread poverty and social exclusion, in the weakening of democracy and in the loss of sovereignty.
This SB is a fiscal monstrosity and an instrument that accentuates injustice and inequalities. The government's proposal has no economic credibility, is socially disastrous and politically unsustainable.
Without a change of course, the experience of the execution of the 2012 SB will be repeated. Its result was an increase of the deficit (6.8% in the first 6 months) and of the public debt (119% of the GDP, 11% more than in 2011).
We are facing economic disaster, placing the wealth created in Portugal, at the end of 2012, at an inferior level of that in 2001; we are facing a process of destruction of the state social duties and a risk of social rupture. If the present course is maintained, we will have a second bail out and a situation very similar to Greece.
The alternative cannot be to put the burden on the workers and the popular strata, with more taxes. Nor can it be by cutting on public expenditure (in education, health or social security) that we will take the path of economic and social development.
The government and the neoliberal sectors have been putting strong pressure so that public expenditure is reduced, by demonising it and trying to make the population believe that it is far too high ('a monster'). However the truth is that the expenditure level is not higher than the euro zone, in fact it is inferior (49.4% of the GDP in 2011, compared with 49.5% in the euro zone, according to recent Eurostat figures).
What is needed is finding alternatives and accordingly the CGTP-IN presents proposals for an alternative State Budget:
Aiming at those objectives, the CGTP-IN proposes:
The CGTP-IN considers that Portugal and the other euro zone countries should demand and implement changes to the rules of the European Central Bank (ECB), so that it permits the direct financing of states, with the same terms that now exist for the private banks.
The Portuguese government must take a firm position on this matter and stop defending the outrageous situation that allows the ECB to lend money to financial institutions, at 0.75% (for 3 years). These institutions then make financial applications, while receiving from the national states, at much higher rates.
If the ECB lent directly to the Portuguese State, we could have savings in expenditure of 3.464 billion euros, in 2013.
For the short term debt, we would be saving 1.249 billion euros.
If we renegotiated the debt with the troika, we would also be saving 1.690 billion euros.
Fiscal fraud and evasion levels require a serious, determined and measurable combat against them, since they are corroding the economy and leading to injustice.
Undeclared economy in Portugal has reached, in 2011, the highest figure ever, 43.388 billion euros, meaning 25.4% of the GDP, well above the OECD average of 16.4%.
Inspecting and taxing ((at 20% on average) this economy, would mean additional revenues of 1.162 million euros.
The taxes structure in Portugal impacts on a reduced number of taxpayers and incomes, maintaining a perpetual and unequal share of wealth, resulting from low wages and low social benefits, made worse by the fiscal system. By eliminating some tax benefits we would be saving 3.131 billion euros. By introducing a small financial transaction tax (0.25%), we would add revenues of 2.0389 billion euros. And by introducing surtax only on big shareholders, we would add revenues of 1.665 billion euros.
Progressive taxes, whichever they may be, enhance fiscal equity, reduce inequality, with examples in the European Union, France and Belgium, that introduced corporate taxes with different rates on companies, according to their sales' volume.
The CGTP-IN is also in favour of Income Taxes with more levels, making them more progressive and making the lower grades pay less. We therefore propose a new corporate tax of 33.33% to companies with a sales volume above 12.5 million euros (less than 1% of our enterprises). This would represent fiscal revenues of 1.099 billion euros.
PPS' have proved to be ruinous for the state, which assumes all the risk and is handing over to the private operators truly obscene profits. What we are proposing is a cut in the state payments, especially in road infrastructures. This would mean a cut in the expenditure of 687 million euros.
To summarize, if the CGTP-IN proposals were to be implemented, it would mean a global revenue increase of 6342.20 billion Euros for the 2013 State Budget, plus a cut of expenditure, for the same year, of 7781.1 billion Euros.
Briefing document (1,500 words) issued 12 Nov 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21647-f0.cfm
printed 18 May 2013 at 20:21 hrs by 220.127.116.11