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Tuesday, September 28, 2010 (read 1376 times)

General Strike in Spain September 29th, 2010

by Kimberly

A general strike "For the distribution of work and wealth" has been convoked in all of Spain by the labor unions. This is the first general strike in 8 years, since 2002, and is to protest all the spending cuts the government has made, cutting deep into the pockets of Spaniards across the board.

Of all the EU, the Spanish State is facing one of the most difficult situations, with nearly 20% of the workforce declared as unemployed. The government has been implementing measures to alleviate the economic stress in the country which is placing a hard burden on most workers.

Wages are going down, taxes up, cuts in pensions and unemployment benefits, as well as changes to the labor laws allowing workers to be more easily layed off among other lost labor rights are fueling the situation.

Ever since the crisis started, the unions have been calling for a general strike to oppose these measures. A general strike was finally organized by the big unions: Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT).

According to a recent poll in EL PAIS newspaper, only 9% of Spaniards are definitely going to participate in the strike, not enough to create a political crisis for Socialist Prime Minster Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Spaniards, by law, have the right to participate in the strike. However, with many families facing economic hardships, the turn-out rate may not be as expected. Every Spanish worker has the right to not go to work tomorrow, but that day will be deduced from their paycheck, making many reluctant to participate.

That aside, depending on the turn out, tomorrow may be a difficult day for travel in Spain. The unions and government have come to agreements with the transportation sectors to guarantee "minimum services" in major cities. Still, significant disruption in the transportation system is expected. Minimum services are also required by law in all important sectors, such as healthcare.

Labour groups in Brussels, Athens and other cities around Europe plan protests on Sept. 29 in solidarity with Spain.

There is considerable international support fot the movement. The following labor parties have signed a statement of support declaring, among other things, that:

"We believe that Zapatero's attempt to force this new labour reform package on the workers, together with his plans for reducing the deficit and reforming the pension system, are completely unacceptable. These measures are extremely unjust, since they shift the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the masses and not the real culprits of the crisis. It is unacceptable that the very institutions that generated the crisis are those who are forcing their proposals to get out of it on everyone else, as it involves a reduction in the rights of the working class and an increase in profits for the capitalist system in general."

  • USI - Unione Sindacale Italiana (Italy)
  • IP - Inicjatywa Pracownicza (Poland)
  • CNT-f - Confédération nationale du travail (France)
  • IWW - Industrial Workers of the World (UK)
  • ESE - Sindicato Libertario Griego (Greece)
  • SAC - Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation (Sweden)
  • La Voz de los Zapotecos Xiches en Prisión, part of the Otra Campaña (Mexico)
  • Colectivo 20 de Junio (Zaachila Oaxaca) (Mexico)
  • María Antonieta Robles Barja, Trabajadora Social, Baja California (Mexico)
  • Julio Cesar Rincón, (Mexico)
  • Coordinadora Valle de Chalco (Mexico)
  • LA KARAKOLA, Espacio social y kultural (Mexico)
  • La Otra ciudad de Chihuahua, (Mexico)
  • Nicte-Há Dzib Soto, Niñas y Niños en La Otra Campaña-DF (Mexico)
  • Edilberto Bautista Dìaz, Gen. Sec. of the Sindicato Democrático de Trabajadores de la Procuraduría Social del Distrito Federal (Mexico)
  • La Red vs la Represión en Chiapas (Mexico)
  • Frente Popular Darío Santillán (Argentina)
  • SNAPAP Sindicato Nacional Autónomo del Personal de la Administración Pública (Algeria)
  • Asel Luzarraga (Chile)
  • Frente Popular Francisco Villa Independiente-UNOPII (Mexico)
  • Colectivo Radio Zapatista (Mexico)
  • Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
  • Hombre y Sociedad (Chile)
  • Colectivo Socialista Libertario (Uruguay)
  • Periódico Rojo y Negro (Uruguay)
  • Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland)
  • Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay)
  • Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
  • Grupo Antorcha Libertaria (Colombia)
  • Union Communiste Libertaire (Canada)
  • Red Libertaria de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • Organización Revolucionaria Anarquista - Voz Negra (Chile)
  • Estrategia Libertaria (Chile)
  • Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
  • Alternative Libertaire (France)
  • Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • Federação Anarquista de São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Miami Solidarity & Autonomy (USA)
  • Organización Anarquista por la Revolución Social (Bolivia)
  • Frente Autentico del Trabajo (Mexico)
  • Moez Jemai, journalist-syndicalist (Tunisia)
  • Fédération SUD service public, Vaud canton (Switzerland)
  • CUB, Confederazione Unitaria di Base (Italy)
  • Votán Zapata (Mexico)
  • UNICOBAS (Italy)
  • Instituto Nacional Sindical (Colombia)
  • Columna Libertaria Joaquin Penina (Argentina)
  • Libertære Socialister (Denmark)
  • Centro Internacional de Estudios Sociales (Uruguay)
  • Red Libertaria Popular Mateo Kramer (Colombia)
  • Centro de Estudios Sociales Manuel González Prada, Huancayo (Perú)
  • Tendencia Estudiantil Libertaria (Perú)
  • Movimiento Manuel González Prada (Perú)
  • Sociedad de Resistencia - Santiago (Chile)
  • Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)

The question is that after months of publicity is whether or not the general strike will be a success. If it should fail, it will be a failure for the entire working class. On the other hand, although many want to participate, they simply cannot lose a day of wages.

Tomorrow we will find out what happens!

Keywords: general strike,spain


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