Bus drivers strike in Barcelona

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breakout
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Dec 23 2007 02:07
Bus drivers strike in Barcelona

Bus drivers in Barcelona have called a strike for 21-24 December and 2-4
January, demanding a second day of leave per week. Currently, bus
drivers have to work six days a week. Workers with the
anarcho-syndicalist union, Confederacion General de Treball (CGT) agreed
to go on strike to press their demands against the owner, TMB, allowing
only minimum services needed to connect neighborhoods without other
transportation options. The CGT linked with squatters and direct action
anarchists to ensure that scabs would not be permitted to keep the buses
running. While CGT workers picketed all the bus depots, anarchists,
independentistas, and squatters throughout the city took action against
buses operated by scabs, splashing paint on the windshields, breaking the
rearview mirrors, or puncturing the tires, so that buses had to return to
the station. Although in the morning a large number of buses were in the
streets, around midday hardly any buses were passing by even on major
streets. 54 buses driven by scabs were attacked and sabotaged the first
day, with tires punctured, rearview mirrors broken, or windshields
splashed with paint, rendering them immobile. One bus was even forcibly
evicted by a rowdy crowd of strike supporters. The city of Barcelona
possesses only two cranes capable of hauling decommissioned buses, and
needless to say the day's attacks went quite beyond their capacity.
Additionally, bus stations all throughout the city were spraypainted with
stencils urging solidarity with the strikers, although reflecting the
dramatic changes caused in Spanish society by mass media and spectacular
consumerism, a distressing number of people were grumbling about the
inconvenience and calling for various forms of repression against
strikers and direct actionists. Major newspapers collaborated with
police to provide a negative headline to the strike, claiming that
someone was injured by one sabotage action, though this has yet to be
verified by independent sources.

Previously, the bus workers had built connections with squatters, sending
a letter of support to the ten-year-old squatted social center Can Vies,
which is on property owned by TMB.

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OliverTwister
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Dec 23 2007 03:45

are "independistas" catalan nationalists?

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 23 2007 07:51

TMB is the Catalan initials for Metropolitan Transport of Barcelona. a similar struggle was waged by CGT on the metro in 2005, of short work stoppages. in that case the government was proposing to eliminate the earlier retirement of transit workers, forcing them to work longer, a struggle similar to what is going on now in France. in that case the struggle was sold out by the Workers Commissions.

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Steven.
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Dec 23 2007 10:05

interesting stuff, cheers!

David in Atlanta
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Dec 23 2007 18:19

strike rally pictures from www.cgtbus.com

Mark.
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Dec 24 2007 14:30

Links in Spanish
report on kaosenlared
alasbarricadas thread

Utter
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Dec 24 2007 15:43

Intresting. Anyone know how many bus drivers where on strike and how big part of the workforce that is?

Mark.
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Dec 24 2007 15:53
Utter wrote:
Intresting. Anyone know how many bus drivers where on strike and how big part of the workforce that is?

According to the CGT 80 per cent of drivers were on strike - the company was disputing the figure.

Utter
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Dec 24 2007 16:04

How does it work i Barcelona, the union call a strike and both members, non-members and members in other unions strike?

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 24 2007 21:47

the bus division of TMB has 2,500 employees.

my spanish isn't the best, but my interpretation of the strike notices at alasbarricadas, is that the strike is being run by a strike assembly and an independent Rest Days Committee (comite de descansos). apparently the Workers Commissions wanted to join the movement after the initial assembly had decided on a set of demands, but the strike meetings have refused to alter the demands of the strike. in particular, they refused to allow anyone but bus drivers to participate in the assemblies. in particular, they did not allow paid union officials to participate. at least this is my translation of "liberados sindicales", i think this means those who are "liberated" from having to work in order to be paid union officials.

I believe there are five unions represented on the comite de empresa of the TMB bus operation: CGT, UGT, Workers Commissions, ACTUB, and CIT. CGT is the largest and holds the presidency and vice-presidency of the comite de empresa. one of the notices on alasbarricadas refers to the "radical leadership" of the shop, and i guess this refers to the CGT.

the comite de empresa is the official collective bargaining council.

Edit: I don't mean to suggest that the Workers Commissions were not allowed to participate. In fact the movement is explicitly open to all drivers, irrespective of the union they support. It's just that they refuse to be manipulated by official officials.

ACTUB = Barcelona Urban Transport Drivers Association
TMB = Barcelona Metropolitan Transport

The CGT union is the Sindicat Unic de Transports i Comunicacions (Transport and Communications Industrial Union). This union has separate "sections" for bus and rail at TMB. The website of the CGT autobuseros section: http://www.cgtbus.com. Website of the metro section: http://www.cgtmetro.org

Mark.
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Dec 24 2007 22:12
Utter wrote:
How does it work i Barcelona, the union call a strike and both members, non-members and members in other unions strike?

In this case the strike was called by the CGT and an independent union, the Associació de Conductors de Transport Urbà de Barcelona, with lukewarm support from the CCOO and UGT. From what I can make out from the alasbarricadas thread decisions are being made by assemblies of all the workers involved. There are more pictures and a new report in Spanish here.

Edit: Actually I think syndicalistcat's account is probably more accurate - I didn't see it before posting this.

Mark.
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Dec 26 2007 00:02

Slideshow of Monday's demo in Barcelona

Mark.
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Dec 28 2007 23:00

Comité de Descansos blog

David in Atlanta
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Dec 30 2007 18:44

there's also a transit strike in Madrid involving cleaning crews. I don't have time to do any rough translations but there's information on madrid.indymedia.org, cgt.es and cnt.es

Madrid Metro strikers sacked amid accusations of vandalism

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blia blia blia
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Dec 30 2007 21:41
David in Atlanta wrote:
there's also a transit strike in Madrid involving cleaning crews. I don't have time to do any rough translations but there's information on madrid.indymedia.org, cgt.es and cnt.es

Madrid Metro strikers sacked amid accusations of vandalism

Yeah, the cleaning crews of Madrid's underground (Metro) are on strike.
They are 1.500 workers in different companies.

They fight for:
- The same wage for every worker (nowadays they are different by company or contract type)
- 35 hours per week of work
- ...

I think it goes on from December, 17.

Unions involved are: UGT, CGT, USO, CNT and SUT, and workers' assembly seems to rule the negotiation.

Companies are hard-minded, Government is against the workers , the media too,... Nowadays negotiations are broken and there are demonstrations December, 31th and January 2th.

Metro's cameras have filmed a lot of "sabotages" (just people soling, throwing rubbish,...) and medias (TV, radio, newspaper,...) talk much about it but nothing about workers' demands .

Most part of Madrid's autonomous anarchists support the strike (just visit www.klinamen.org and look for the news with "Metro" word).

A forum talking about the strike:
http://www.alasbarricadas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=32041

For videos of "vandalism"?, "sabotages"? look for huelga metro madrid in youtube