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AltAusterity Digest #110 September 5-13, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Sep 13, 2019

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, representing more than 140,000 employees, is preparing for potential post-election strike action. The union is currently in negotiations for their unit representing 70,000 administrative employees. PSAC has accused the government of walking away from negotiations after failing to produce a fair wage offer or come close to resolving compensation concerns brought on by the disastrous Phoenix pay system. Due to the federal election, it is unlikely bargaining will resume before October 21st. The union has said a strike would not be likely before the new year.

The UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights has found that austerity measures imposed by international financial institutions regularly cause violations of human rights. In a report to be presented to the UN General Assembly in October, the independent expert Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky points to the lack of evidence that fiscal consolidation of economically beneficial and points to the negative impacts on “economic growth, jobs, debt sustainability and, ultimately, equality.” Bohoslavsky goes on to claim that international financial institutions could be considered responsible for complicity with economic reforms that violate human rights.

Two unions in Chicago’s education sector are preparing for a strike. The 30,000 member Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) may be joined by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 73, who have authorized a strike if the bargaining team cannot secure a living wage and protections against privatization. During 2012 negotiations, when the CTU launched one of the most successful strikes in recent history, SEIU Local 73 signed an early agreement to avoid a labour dispute. However, this time around, Local 73 was given an extremely strong strike mandate, with 84% of members voting, and 97% authorizing a strike. A joint strike between the CTU and Local 73 could be a decisive battle in the “Red for Ed” movement.

A senior office from Scotland Yard’s violent crime task force has said austerity may have been a factor in spiking stabbings and life-threatening attacks in London. Cuts to public services and the social safety net have caused increasing poverty and decreasing social inclusion. Boris Johnson has pledged to recruit 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, which will only deal with the effects and not the causes of austerity. Furthermore, police have focused resources towards those aged under 25 with “stop and search” methods being used 25,000 a month to profile youth and search them without reasonable suspicion.

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.