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General strikes and the struggle against austerity in Spain

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Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 11 2010 16:05
medwards wrote:

Where is everyone? Fingers: Seville? Vall: ?

I'm in Z-a-r-a-g-o-z-a, mate. I haven't updated anyting else cos there isn't much to report. I was in the demo the 8th evening. It was massive as well, not as big as the barna one but big enough for my city (about 700 000 inhabitants)

Big unions are discussing now with the bosses and the government wether they are gonna smuggle the austerity measures while keeping us quiet or are they gonna call to a general strike (Jesus, with all these strikes i'm gonna go bankrupt!)

The situation here to set up an effective resistance is quite difficult maybe some day that i have more time i post my view on the subject.

Malone: didn't know you where from Sevilla. I love it man! I'm planning to travel south this summer.

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medwards
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Jun 11 2010 17:18

shiiit I was in Zaragoza the week before the 8th. Beautiful city man.

Yeah, everything seems real quiet now with a wait-and-see approach which is pretty disappointing. I will be cycling to Girona tomorrow so I will not be in the loop anymore, but I hope to hear news (good or bad) from here tongue

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 13 2010 13:23
the economist wrote:
the demands of the unions’ core membership will probably make a general strike inevitable. Either way, the left will be in disarray.

Mr Zapatero, his hand forced by the markets, is imposing austerity measures and labour reforms unwillingly. If union leaders do call a general strike, it may be with a similar lack of enthusiasm.

http://www.economist.com/node/16333399?story_id=16333399&fsrc=scn/tw/te/rss/pe

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fingers malone
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Jun 13 2010 18:19

Hello, sorry I didn´t update before, I was in the countryside planting pumpkins.

Thursday was pretty lively, according to the papers there were seven different demos. The shipyard workers marched to the parliment and threw tomatoes, protesting about layoffs and unpaid wages (I think) I have a list of all the different things that happened but not on me, sorry.

I went to the posties´ strike on Thursday, about 800 people there and it struck me just how many unions there are, this was ONE sector in ONE city:
CSI-F (a public sector union), Sindicato Libre (only in the postal service), Comisiones, CGT, and CNT (one guy!) The UGT didn´t join the strike. People told me that there has been a "privatisation by a thousand cuts" in the post office, the garages where they repair the vans are privatised, the service that takes the post from the city to the villages is privatised, etc. There are 5000 less public sector workers in the post office than a few years ago.

I´m going to go home and write something properly tomorrow but I felt the strikes and demos on Thursday had a bit more bite to them than the actual big strike on Tuesday.

Right, off to get this dirt out from under my fingernails.... by the way, thanks for all your encouraging comments, it actually kept me writing. smile

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Ed
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Jun 13 2010 18:46

Good stuff mate, it's always good to hear first hand how the class struggle is going in other countries.. so yeah, keep us posted with the great updates.

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medwards
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Jun 13 2010 19:23
fingers malone wrote:
I went to the posties´ strike on Thursday, about 800 people there and it struck me just how many unions there are, this was ONE sector in ONE city:

Based on what I've seen I'm convinced Spain has minority unionism where multiple unions can have representation in a given workplace because the workers *choose* who they affiliate too. It leads to all kind of interesting arguments (like the one I cite from the university campus). (I also may have read about it but forgot... anyways)

Can anyone verify this? The UK is closed shop, one union right?

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fingers malone
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Jun 14 2010 09:27

Sometimes in the UK you have more than one union in a workplace for different jobs, eg. in my FE college the teachers were in UCU and the admin staff, librarians etc. were in Unison, and you have to cross each other´s picket lines or risk serious disciplinary action, and they sent you a letter at home telling you that before strikes. At Tower Hamlets a couple of years ago the teachers refused en masse to cross the Unison picket line and I think it was a real step forward.
In local government workplaces you often have people in the T&G and people in the GMB and people in Unison in the same workplace, and from what people tell me it´s usually negative. I also remember the RMT and T&G fighting over who the tube cleaners ´belonged´ to in a not very helpful fashion.

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fingers malone
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Jun 14 2010 09:32

I´m sorry about all the initials, didn´t think.

GMB- General, Municipal and Boilermakers
T&G Transport & General, now part of Unite
Unison- public sector. Are they part of Unite? Don´t remember. Used to be Nalgo & other unions.
UCU University & College Union, ie teachers not in schools. Used to be Natfe and another union.
RMT don´t know what it stands for but it involves trains.

And Tower Hamlets is in East London, it used to be the veg. gardens and settlements around the Tower of London.

slothjabber
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Jun 14 2010 11:54

Unison and Unite are two different union blocs.

RMT stands for Rail, Maritime and Transport.

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fingers malone
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Jun 15 2010 08:32

General strike´s on. Heard it on the radio this morning.

bootsy
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Jun 15 2010 09:30

Have they announced a date?

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fingers malone
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Jun 15 2010 10:10

Not yet, probably the autumn I imagine.
This will be the fifth one day general strike since 1975, the others were 1985, 1988, 1994 and 2002.
More info as soon as I get it.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 15 2010 12:11
fingers malone wrote:
Not yet, probably the autumn I imagine.
This will be the fifth one day general strike since 1975, the others were 1985, 1988, 1994 and 2002.
More info as soon as I get it.

More than likely the 29th september cos the european confederation of unions has called for a day of protests all around Europe.

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fingers malone
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Jun 16 2010 11:27

Yep, it´s the 29th of September.

Andros
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Jun 20 2010 12:39

These are circumstances that are going to be continual in one form or another in the coming period.
The possible occurrence of two General strikes in Europe at the same time is something to take heart from, reinforce, and help develop the first strategic and tactical approaches, which break down the isolation of dealing with the austerity measures by the proletariat country by country and offer a unified response. From their side the world ruling class is working out their game plan at the G 20 in Toronto in the coming week. What we can’t afford to let happen is to allow differences in the relative control from the union- social democratic containment fields in various states become a stumbling block. The business union may be more prevalent in Spain than in Greece, but pales by comparison to those in Germany or Great Britain, however there are workers in all these countries that are looking for solutions outside of what once were the usual frameworks. The global ruling class during this crisis has forced the issue. It’s time for the working class to respond in kind.

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Steven.
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Jun 22 2010 19:53

cheers again for the update - I have changed the name of this thread to better reflect its content

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fingers malone
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Jun 23 2010 09:59

Nice one, good idea.

Yesterday I saw a picket of the court just walking back from work, I went over and it was the SAT (sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores- they are the SOC field workers union, now trying to be a bigger union not just in the countryside.) They told me that the case is for an occupation that they did, but more than that they said that at the moment they have 300,000 E in pending fines. I asked around a bit and apparently they have been having loads and loads of legal problems and court cases recently.
The only person who was gone to prison recently in Spain for union activities is a guy in Asturias who went down for breaking a street light during a strike, and he went down for a few months. But what the state does in general here is they don´t jail so many people as in England but they give you massive, massive fines, which you have to pay pretty quickly or you do go to prison. So this takes up huge amounts of time and energy paying off the fines. Got to go but I´ve got other things to say, I´ll finish it soon.

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fingers malone
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Jun 23 2010 18:28

Hi, sorry about that, I was kicked out of the internet cafe....
I wanted to say that it looks like the state is carrying out a strategy involving a repression of workers´ resistance if it doesn´t stay within the boundaries of being strictly legal and ineffective. Although they don´t seem to be actually sending people down they are often pressing charges that do involve a prison sentence and then in the end the person ends up with a massive fine instead. I was interested to see that the metal workers, when their convenio (agreeement for a sector) came up, did a pretty militant action involving blocking the main arterial roads with burning tyres, as far as I know they are in Comisiones and UGT. I was wondering if they got treated differently by the police/courts because they are in mainstream unions instead of radical ones. In fact I don´t even know if they ended up with any kind of charges or not. The shipyard workers who are also in the mainstream unions are blocking roads a lot at the moment.
I saw a new union for the trainspotters guide, CSI Centro Sindical de Izquierda or something similar, from Asturias, and their flag was covered in drawings of workers with catapults and burning tyres and so on, it wasn´t your usual union asthetic to put it mildly.

I was wondering if the direct action stuff that´s going on looks impressive to me just because I´m not used to it, maybe it´s pretty typical and ritualistic here. If anyone has an opinion about the direct action that´s going on, if it´s above or below what is normal, if it´s kind of sabre-rattling or if it´s for real, I´d be really interested to hear what people think.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 23 2010 18:43

CSI? That's Corriente Sindical de Izquierdas (left sindicalist current), malone. They are well known in Asturias. They are the main radical union in the shipyards, good and brave people. Most of em founded the union when they left CCOO, feeling upset and deceived by them. I didn't know they have members down south to be honest

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fingers malone
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Jun 23 2010 19:01

Ah, no they weren´t down south, well I mean they were just down south for the day. They came down to support the people who were on trial.

I wish I had known who they were before, it would have been good to talk to them. I just asked what the initials stood for (and then remembered it wrong.)

gypsy
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Jun 23 2010 19:27
fingers malone wrote:
Ah, no they weren´t down south, well I mean they were just down south for the day. They came down to support the people who were on trial.

I wish I had known who they were before, it would have been good to talk to them. I just asked what the initials stood for (and then remembered it wrong.)

All these updates are much appreciated!

incontrolado
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Jun 23 2010 22:12

Next days 28, 29 and 30 of June. There are subway strike called in Madrid, by wage cuts of 5%.

Also the 29th is called a general strike in Basque Country, by CCOO, ELA, LAB, CGT, CNT and STEKK

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fingers malone
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Jun 24 2010 21:33

Thanks a lot incontrolado.

¿Hay algien alli en Madrid o Euskadi leyendo la pagina que puede escribir sobre estas huelgas cuando pasan? Puedes mandarle a mi y lo traduzcará si es mas facil. Valeriano tambien habla muy bien inglés, a lo mejor tambien puede.

We need all the posters we can get on this thread I think.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 24 2010 21:48

I have a friend in guipuzcoa. I'll try to get him to inform me.

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fingers malone
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Jun 24 2010 21:51

Cool, I´ll write to some people I know in Bilbao.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 25 2010 12:29

Look here is an example of what we used to discuss about:

http://www.publico.es/espana/323536/paro/horas/afectara/servicios/renfe

There is a railway workers strike today. Well, the ministry of public works has imposed a 70 % minimum services. With such services, which strike could be succesful?

incontrolado
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Jun 26 2010 09:39

Metro workers demonstration video

http://www.rtve.es/mediateca/videos/20100624/trabajadores-metro-ambulancias-se-concentran-a-puertas-asamblea-madrid/810635.shtml

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fingers malone
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Jun 26 2010 19:34

Here´s the first bit of a text about the strike from incontrolado:

Close to one thousand workers in a general assembly have called a 24 hour strike for the 28th of June, respecting servicios minimos. But this strike will continue on the 29th and 30th and will be total (no trains will move for two days) if the service cuts announced by the local government of Madrid are approved, which include wage reductions throughout the public sector. The total strike will be an "illegal" move but it has been approved on the grounds that it is equally illegal for Madrid city council to suspend a collective agreement with the metro workers and reduce their wages by an average of 5%. ......
The strike is supported by UGT, Comisiones Obreras, Sindicato Libre del Metro, Solidaridad Obrera, Sindicato de Conductores (drivers) and Sindicato de Estaciones.

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fingers malone
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Jun 26 2010 19:34

Here´s the first bit of a text about the strike from incontrolado:

Close to one thousand workers in a general assembly have called a 24 hour strike for the 28th of June, respecting servicios minimos. But this strike will continue on the 29th and 30th and will be total (no trains will move for two days) if the service cuts announced by the local government of Madrid are approved, which include wage reductions throughout the public sector. The total strike will be an "illegal" move but it has been approved on the grounds that it is equally illegal for Madrid city council to suspend a collective agreement with the metro workers and reduce their wages by an average of 5%. ......
The strike is supported by UGT, Comisiones Obreras, Sindicato Libre del Metro, Solidaridad Obrera, Sindicato de Conductores (drivers) and Sindicato de Estaciones.

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fingers malone
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Jun 26 2010 19:35

Here´s the first bit of a text about the strike from incontrolado:

Close to one thousand workers in a general assembly have called a 24 hour strike for the 28th of June, respecting servicios minimos. But this strike will continue on the 29th and 30th and will be total (no trains will move for two days) if the service cuts announced by the local government of Madrid are approved, which include wage reductions throughout the public sector. The total strike will be an "illegal" move but it has been approved on the grounds that it is equally illegal for Madrid city council to suspend a collective agreement with the metro workers and reduce their wages by an average of 5%. ......
The strike is supported by UGT, Comisiones Obreras, Sindicato Libre del Metro, Solidaridad Obrera, Sindicato de Conductores (drivers) and Sindicato de Estaciones.