Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo
COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

AltAusterity Digest #114 October 3-9, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Oct 11, 2019

In Mexico, both the lower house and the Senate have approved a bill that prevents any high-level official from working at a company they had regulated for 10 years. Last week several top officials quit their posts at the national banking and securities regulator. The bill also reigns in excessive spending privileges for high ranking public officials. The Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has described the revolving door between the private and public sector as a “cancer” and ran an election campaign promising to stamp out corruption. The business press had dubbed the measures contained in the bill as “AMLO’s austerity law,” despite the restrictions clearly being aimed at corruption.

Indigenous-led anti-austerity protests in Ecuador have entered their fifth day. In response to President Moreno’s decision last week to eliminate fuel subsidies, Indigenous protesters and the workers’ movement have paralyzed a significant portion of the country through blockading roads. So far, 477 arrests have been made and a state of emergency has been declared. Earlier this year, the government negotiated a $4.2 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, which was conditional upon Ecuador implementing austerity measures.

France’s national lottery company Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) is expected to be privatized within the next few weeks. President Macron’s efforts to privatize public assets such as the lottery and airports is part of his government’s plan to raise money for investments to stimulate the economy. The French state controls 72% of FDJ, the second biggest lottery in Europe, and plans to retain only 20% of its ownership. Companies including BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and HSBC are working on the sale.

In Ontario, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representing 55,000 school board workers has reached a tentative agreement with the government, avoiding a strike. Earlier this year, the Ford Conservative government introduced a bill that would limit public sector worker compensation increases at 1%. The proposed bill, which is not yet law, has generated minimal backlash from the major unions as public sector employers try to force workers to take a real-terms pay cut. While CUPE’s school board division, OSBCU, did accept the 1%, they were also able to restore millions in funding for schools and restore as many as 1,500 jobs cut by the Conservatives.

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.