Catarina Martins, Coordinator for the Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda) from Portugal, advocates forming of a European recovery fond weighing 1.5 billion €. The fund should be financed directly by the European Central Bank, stated Martins in an interview which was a part of the “Meeting the left” series.
In a conversation with Walter Baier and Hugo Monteiro, Katarina Martins pointed out that in terms of epidemiology, Portugal quickly “flattened the curve” primarily thanks to the fact that the health system is still publicly owned and almost free.
However, she also stated that the position of workers during the pandemic is not so good. It is predicted that about half a million people will lose their jobs, while almost a million people are facing declining incomes.
Martins explains that in order to monitor and respond to this situation, the Left Bloc has launched an online platform for reporting on layoffs, endangering labour rights and the lack of safe and clean working conditions during the epidemic. In just one month, 100.000 workers reported their complaints regarding these issues. The role of this platform is twofold; on the one hand it monitors changes in the sphere of work and thus enables the party to adequately formulate its policies, while on the other hand it serves as a support network among workers, in a context where trade union intervention is not strong enough.
“Meetings with the Left” is a series of conversations with the leading figures of European left parties organized by Transform, a network of European leftist organizations. You can watch the interviews live via Zoom app, and you can stay informed on the next conversations via Transform’s Facebook page. Recordings of all conversations will be available later on Mašina’s web page.
Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić
This article was originally published in Serbian on May 19, 2020.