Socialist Worker

Spanish unions call general strike for 29 September

by Luke Stobart
Issue No. 2206

Spain’s two main trade union federations were set to call a general strike as Socialist Worker went to press.

This follows a major public sector strike on Tuesday of last week, when over a million workers struck against a 5 percent pay reduction and other cuts.

Around 100,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona, 50,000 in Madrid and 20,000 in Seville.

Firefighters burst into the Madrid stock exchange, unfurling a banner reading: “Citizens are paying for your greed!”.

Protesters in Barcelona removed the furniture from a company owned by the head of the employers’ organisation and used it to block a main road.

Workers blockaded ports and health workers camped outside hospitals.

The same day, negotiations broke down between the unions, employers and government over a new “labour reform”.

The government backed employers’ demands to make it easier and cheaper to sack workers and is now trying to pass this by decree.

The Basque unions have called a general strike for 29 June.

But many union leaderships have reacted passively to the crisis.

Union leaders called strikes reluctantly. They delayed them by several days.

They also agreed to management’s abusive “minimum cover”, which for example forced one in three public transport workers to go to work.

Around half of the £800 billion loans advanced by the top 30 European banks are to private individuals and companies in Spain. Bankers fear that these loans will not be repaid – so they are demanding more cuts.


Italy

Millions of Italian workers in the CGIL federation will join a strike on Thursday of next week.


European day of action

The European TUC has called a day of action across the continent on 29 September. One focus will be a demonstration in Brussels timed to coincide with a meeting of European finance ministers.

The day will “include protest stoppages, demonstrations, meetings with government finance ministers,” said the ETUC, which represents 82 trade union organisations in 36 countries.


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International
Tue 15 Jun 2010, 18:43 BST
Issue No. 2206
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