Sep. 14 - Some 100,000 people gather in Warsaw to protest over the government's labour policies. Rough cut. (No reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT -- NO REPORTER NARRATION Some 100,000 people from across Poland took the streets of Warsaw to protest government policies and the country's severe economic slowdown. The trade unionists gathered at the De Gaulle Roundabout in downtown Warsaw before marching towards the Presidential Place and Zamkowy Square. The protest was organised by Poland's three main trade unions, Solidarity, All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) and Trade Unions Forum (FZZ). Protesters were demonstrating against liberal policies of Donald Tusk's Government, against "junk" employment contracts, low minimum wages and a hike in the retirement age. Tusk plans to transfer a big chunk of the assets held by private pension funds, known by the Polish acronym OFE, into a state vehicle. It also wants to scrap a requirement for savers to pay contributions into the private funds. A pension reform bill is likely to be put before parliament in the next month or two. It will be the biggest test of Tusk's ability to get important measures through parliament since the defections from his party. If parliament rejects it, that could bring down the government and force an early election. The PO party won an unprecedented second consecutive general election two years ago but support has deteriorated along with the economy. Poland barely avoided a recession earlier this year and unemployment is at its highest level since early 2007. Recent economic data has pointed to a modest economic recovery in the second half of the year. The next election is scheduled for late 2015.