RIO DE JANEIRO – European governments are wrong to address their region’s economic woes by diminishing labor rights, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Friday, calling instead for policies that are friendly to workers.
“Various countries in the world are cutting the 13th (monthly) salary, as is the case of Spain this week, cutting councilors’ pay by 30 percent, raising taxes, and the country goes from bad to worse,” she said in the northeastern town of Maragojipe during the christening of an offshore oil platform.
The Spanish government confirmed Friday the elimination for public employees of the additional month’s salary traditionally paid at Christmas.
Governments in Europe have implemented austerity measures even as unemployment climbs toward 25 percent and “half” of young people are unable to find work, Rousseff said, alluding to the unemployment rates in nations such as Greece and Spain.
“Brazil is on another path,” she said, one of spreading the wealth and reducing production costs without slashing pay or benefits “won by workers in a lifetime of struggle.”
“Our path is not that of taking rights from workers,” Rousseff said, defending her moves to reduce taxes and invest in training as a way to promote economic growth.
She also stressed her administration’s commitment to maintaining the value of the real at a level that preserves Brazilian industry.
The sluggish international economy has been a damper on growth in Brazil, where private sector analysts expect gross domestic product to expand by a modest 2 percent this year. EFE