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General strikes and the struggle against austerity in Spain

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fingers malone
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Jul 9 2010 17:05

From Madrid CNT

From SOV (Sindicato for General Trades) CNT Madrid

Today at 12 due to wages not being paid in Viajes Marsans (Marsans Travel) there was a picket outside their headquarters in Portico. It´s not the first time since the conflict started but it´s this time it wasn´t in silence: there were whistles, shouts of "we want to be paid" and once inside the building, "to the third floor!" The third floor is where the management team is. Quickly the third floor filled with workers shouting "we want to be paid" "Farran must come out!" "You´ll pay for this" "Anyone who doesn´t jump up and down is Farran" and people were jumping up and down and hitting the walls.... impressive. We took action united and decisively.

Ivan Losada, current director of Viajes Marsans came out of his office and faced with an improvised assembly asked to meet with a few representatives to give an explanation. The response was a clamour "NO the explanations to everybody" and the management had to give their explanations in front of all the workers. It was clearly transmitted to the management that they have to pay the wages, that they have to present the ERE urgente that they have prepared (tr. an ERE is when a company want to make layoffs, they first have to do an ERE, ok the next line I don´t understand "que tienen que presentar las cartas de permiso renumerado que amenazan con lanzar") the response was that tomorrow there will be a meeting with the comitteeand they will give more explanations.
Finally the thirty workers went up to the sixth floor of the the building and today actions will continue.
Comrades, the tension has risen to the maximum.
We never would have thought that direct action by the workers, without intermediaries, would happen in the travel agency. But at last it has happened! The mobilisations continue, when and where they can. Cheers to everybody and especially to the comrades who went in to confront the director.
Long live the struggle of the workers of Marsans, without paid union beaurocrats and without government subsidies!

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 9 2010 17:11

yesterday there was another reunion between the madrid underground strike comitte and the management:

http://www.solidaridadobrera.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1937:3o-reunion-comite-de-huelga-empresaconsorcio-8710&catid=15:trabajadores-en-general-de-metro&Itemid=261

There was no agreement reached but the unions states that the management got clear that the strikers were not to accept:

a) that the temporary contracts weren't turn into permanent ones
b) the reduction on the invalidity benefits
c) the change of the contribution percentage

Tomorrow morning there is another reunion where the management want to reach a 7.896.899 euros costs reduction. This is an amount that as far as i understand the union accepts: the question seems where to cut. In a reunion on last tuesday the strike comitte only accepted reductions in the upper scale workers wages:

http://www.solidaridadobrera.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1932:reunion-comite-de-huelga-empresaconsorcio-06-07-2010&catid=15:trabajadores-en-general-de-metro&Itemid=261

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 9 2010 17:15

ERE is what you correctly explained, malone. cartas de permiso renumerado i think is that you are forced during a period to work part-time and then the state subsidies pay you part of the wages.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 9 2010 17:16

Things are nicely heating up anyway tongue

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Jul 9 2010 17:31

Don´t talk to me about heat..... all the little pumpkin plants on the balcony have died today of heat, and I know how they feel. sad

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Jul 9 2010 17:32

P.S thanks for the translation help!

incontrolado
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Jul 9 2010 17:55

CNT demo against labor "reforms"

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Jul 9 2010 18:21

That looks fantastic- how many people?

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 9 2010 18:23
fingers malone wrote:
That looks fantastic- how many people?

And considering the heat it's fookin massive laugh out loud

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Jul 9 2010 19:01

Somebody do a massive wildcat walkout quick before the jokes about the weather between me and Valeriano take over the thread...

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Jul 10 2010 16:15

As well as translating the news I thought I´d try to write some overviews, I´m sorry they are only about Andalucia, because I never go anywhere else...

Tell me if this is useful, if it is I will keep going.

Class struggle in the countryside.
The jornaleros in the south are traditionally one of the most revolutionary groups in Spain but in the sixties literally millions of people left the land, and from Andalucia emigrated to Barcelona or to France or Germany, or to the cities in Andalucia, so they don´t have anything like the strength they used to have. But it is still a sector with a high level of class struggle.

About 10 per cent of the population of Andalucia work in agriculture according to the figures. A lot of people who have other jobs work in agriculture now and then, picking olives or going to northern Europe to pick fruit. Most of the production is large latifundios, there are hardly any little farms. The big landowners are often the same upper class families as before the civil war eg. the Duquesa de Alba who is I think the biggest landowner in Andalucia and is always getting sicophantic coverage in the press. At harvest time people get around 50E a day normally. There is a special unemployment benefit for jornaleros which is about 300 E a month but there is a lot of corruption attached to this benefit, as the employer has to sign to say that a person worked a certain number of days a year as a jornalero, so it gives power to the employers. Typically a lot of jornaleros collected the benefit and then worked off the books in construction in Malaga, but now thousands of people have been laid off in construction. In the last ten years or so large numbers of people have come to work as harvesters from the Magreb, Sub-saharan Africa and eastern Europe. Some of them have special contracts "from the country of origen" which are special contracts which often stipulate that they have to return at the end of the harvest. Others come independantly. There is a certain division of labour according to crops, the olives are still mostly picked by Spanish people but the strawberries are mostly picked by immigrant women. Recently a lot of immigrants were starting to move from fieldwork to construction which pays better but with the crisis they have lost their jobs and are now competing with Spanish building workers who have also gone back to field work because unemployment in the construction sector is so bad.

A lot of immigrant field workers have joined the union SAT which made a big push to organise amongst immigrants. The SAT (Sindicato Andaluz del Trabajadores) which started in the seventies as the SOC (Field Workers Union) is the main union working in the countryside here. They often take direct action eg. occupying bank headquarters, government buildings, blocking roads, blocking the high speed train etc. Because of this they have 400 people up awaiting trial at the moment. I´m not in the SAT but they seem to me a decent fighting union.

Organising for the jornaleros is very difficult as there is a vast pool of people who know how to do this work, and general unemployment is very high (20%.) By observation they seem to be the most militant sector here. But wages are going down at the moment and less people are being taken on this year. A newspaper report said that for one crop (I´m sorry I forgot which one) last year they employed 12 000 people on contracts in the country of origen, and this year only 5000, all North African women. The newspaper said that more Spanish people had been taken on and less immigrants.

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Jul 10 2010 16:34

I forgot to say, a jornalero is a day labourer in the countryside.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 12 2010 17:41

Everything you have written is correct, malone.

On the other hand, according to Europa Press the metro de madrid assembly have decided today to go on with the 24 hours strikes from wednesday up until friday BUT respecting the servicios mínimos. The information is a bit contradictory as the agency states that the management includes tuesday as strike day.

http://noticias.lainformacion.com/espana/los-trabajadores-de-metro-deciden-ir-a-huelga-el-miercoles-y-viernes-respetando-los-servicios-minimos_PqKtYKzVjqbAYckgNVfVI4/

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Jul 12 2010 21:58

There´s something on the solidaridad obrera page about the negotiations but it´s too difficult for me to translate.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 12 2010 22:08
fingers malone wrote:
There´s something on the solidaridad obrera page about the negotiations but it´s too difficult for me to translate.

I've seen it but it's from the precedent meeting not the one that took place today in the morning. I think they haven't updated the page still.

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Jul 13 2010 12:41

Totally changing the subject just while we wait for news from Madrid.... in other cities how big a deal is the abortion thing? Here the church is obviously spending millions on posters, stickers etc. But the real popular support for their campaign is way lower than it looks, at one point they covered the city with propaganda but most people don´t support them.
To explain the background, the government is changing the law and decriminalising abortion, and making it easier to get. There has been a massive very well funded protest against it. I´m not sure what has happened just recently but all the "right to life" flags have gone back up again.
Well I was interested to notice recently that you only see the right to life flags in central Seville and the middle class neighbourhoods. Where I work you see them all the time but in the whole of the north east of the city where I live you never see a single one. I asked friends and apparently a lot of working class people, who maybe are believers and also not very interested in politics, feel very strongly that the church can just fuck off. The freedom from having the church stick it´s nose in their business is very strongly valued (for obvious historical reasons.)
The biggest controversy was at Easter time when some of the cofradías (these are the associations that look after and carry the big statues of Jesus and Mary in the Easter parades, it´s a very big thing in Seville) said that they would put a white ribbon on the float to protest against the abortion reform. Well a lot of cofradias rejected it and in some the costaleros refused to carry the statues,the best one was where they had to get new costaleros, and they got it wrong and bashed the statue into the door of the church!
So.. I know it´s still illegal in almost the whole of Latin America, what about other Catholic countries? Poland? Is the situation globally getting worse or better?

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Jul 13 2010 13:28

This was part of a post I did on the world cup thread in Libcommunity:

Quote:
In fact, much more interesting than the game is the news that Spanish politicians and leaders are calling for the country to "unite, just like the national team" - i.e. presumably overcome their regionalist divisions in order to 'tackle' the dire state of the economy. (spanish socialist party MP on the BBC - 'yes we have 20% unemployment, it's very hard and deep but we have to unite like this team to beat the crisis'....)

fingers malone, I noticed you responded to it - can you say any more?

Obviously the whole world cup thing must be dominating the news at the moment, but I'm wondering if there have been other comments like the Socialist MP, i.e. pointing towards the beginnings of a 'national unity' campaign by the bourgeoisie..?

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Jul 13 2010 15:02

Oh nooooo, you want me to talk about the national question....
Ok the big thing at the moment I think is the statut of Catalonia, that was approved by a referendum in 2006 and then recently a court ruled against some elements of it. I think the controversial things were that it referred to Catalonia as a nation and also an issue of language. There was a demo in Barcelona a few days ago with apparently more than a million people protesting in favour of the statut.
I´m sure that the politicians are trying to use the world cup victory in that way but I haven´t read a newspaper for days to be honest. I´m looking on the net to see if I can find anything useful to say.
I hate talking about the national question, can´t I just stick to jokes about Paul the octopus?

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 15 2010 08:40
miles wrote:
This was part of a post I did on the world cup thread in Libcommunity:
Quote:
In fact, much more interesting than the game is the news that Spanish politicians and leaders are calling for the country to "unite, just like the national team" - i.e. presumably overcome their regionalist divisions in order to 'tackle' the dire state of the economy. (spanish socialist party MP on the BBC - 'yes we have 20% unemployment, it's very hard and deep but we have to unite like this team to beat the crisis'....)

fingers malone, I noticed you responded to it - can you say any more?

Obviously the whole world cup thing must be dominating the news at the moment, but I'm wondering if there have been other comments like the Socialist MP, i.e. pointing towards the beginnings of a 'national unity' campaign by the bourgeoisie..?

Bufffffff!!!! That's a very, very complicated issue. Actually both the national and the abortion one. I'll try to answer both malone's and mile's:

Miles

Yes, spain's winning the world cup as someone could expect is being used as a way of sentimental blackmail to play the nationalist card on the crisis, against the class-social fragmentation that they are seeing in the near future. You must remember that on september there is a call for a general strike and quite likely the social situation it's gonna be much worse then. Since sunday the nationalist propaganda it's being suffocating: here all the major papers are wether right wing or far right wing. There was an event that has been fully hushed up: during spain's celebration two of the main players (puyol and xavi) waved a "senyera" (catalunyas flag) on the pitch. This more than likely was a way of the two to show their support to the barcelona demo against the cuts in the estatut (catalunya laws) or at least to remind the spectators that wether spaniard or not they are still catalans. Now some media is trying to tackle an obvious nuisance for the country's unity but still find it difficult to do: in the end the two men are highly responsible to bring the cup home. It was a brilliant move from them that i applaude. That's the thing in short. I'll open a thread on national issue in spain cos is a very difficult subject and one that is penetrated by many lines of social and economical conflicts.

Malone

Abortion in spain was decriminalized not legalized, that is, in certain cases it's not an offence. In others both can go to jail, the physician and the woman. The government wanted to change the law to legalize it up until 14 weeks (now it's only possible in the first 12 weeks) Besides the law would allow a 16 years old girl to abort without the parents permission. There are more things but these two were the main ones that turned the church and the right mad and have fuelled loads of right wing demos. The same happened with the gay marriage law.

Catholic beliefs in Andalucía are pretty raucous but the influence of the church in the south proletariat private life's, i'd say is ridiculous if not unexistent. It's a thing of habits and rituals but actually more pagan and rural than any other thing i'd say. Let me tell you a funny anecdote: in 1936 when the war started anarchists and communists went to one church of sevilla to burn the church itself and the virgin statue. Well, as the statue was burning the arsonits yelled at her "pretty, pretty!!" lol

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Jul 13 2010 18:04

Thanks for that, nice one.

incontrolado and grupo ruptura come back- we miss you! If I don´t have anything to translate I have to think stuff up myself!

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 13 2010 18:48

BTW miles, don't believe bbc, the economist or financial times about spanish economy: how byased they are is beyond any reasonable point and only try to play the game of the City's sharks to shatter spain's treasury bonus. As the german government they only want to reintroduce slavery here with the gracious cooperation of that cunt aznar. Better use another sources to track our bankruptcy.

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Jul 13 2010 19:34

Valeriano,

thanks for the information above. I agree with you that starting a new thread on the national situation would be worthwhile (if not an easy task..)

what do you mean about the BBC? Are they any more biased than any other news organisation?

revolut
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Jul 14 2010 10:45

Well, today the workers of the Madrid Underground have gone on a 24-hour strike (but with 'servicios minimos). They'll go to strike next Friday too, and the 19th July will be the next meeting of the workers, according to the SO union.

akai
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Jul 14 2010 14:23

Hi gang!

We had a translation of the news about the demo against austerity measures in Madrid here:

http://cia.bzzz.net/cnt_demonstrates_in_madrid_against_labour_reform_and_government_cutbacks

There are probably a couple of other pieces of news from Spain on the English part of our site related to concrete workplaces.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 14 2010 16:06

This was sent to me by a relative and was sent to her by a metro de madrid worker

Quote:
Para quien aún no sepa que lo pretendido por la Comunidad es ilegal y que el conflicto en Metro no es económico sino una vulneración del Derecho Laboral y Constitucional (artículo 37 de la Constitución):

http://usuariossolidarios.wordpress.com/

http://laverdaddelconflictoenmetro.soy.es/

http://www.cincodias.com/articulo/opinion/conflicto-Metro-Madrid/20100705cdscdiopi_3/cdsopi/

http://es.paperblog.com/madrid-metro-y-los-madrilenos-198532

Para quien dude de la voluntad de los trabajadores por alcanzar un acuerdo:

* 17 Junio: quedan convocados los paros en asamblea para los días 28,29 y 30 (con servicios mínimos el 28)
* 24 Junio: concentración en la Asamblea de Madrid; ante la carga policial varios compañeros salen heridos y magullados (¿medios?)
* 28 Junio: huelga con servicios mínimos; la Comunidad aprueba la ley; manifestación en Sol; Asamblea para confirmar paros sin servicios mínimos; la Comunidad, desde el día 17, no da señales de vida.
* 29 y 30 Junio: Metro sin servicio. Criminalizados, se transmite que el conflicto es económico. Ningún medio indaga sobre el verdadero origen del conflicto.
* 1 y 2 de Julio: huelga con servicios mínimos.
* 3 de Julio hasta 12 de Julio: servicio normal
* Ante la inoperancia de la Comunidad (ya sabemos lo malo que es el calor para la capacidad de raciocinio), se renuevan los paros los días 14 y 16 de Julio (de momento).

¿Cuántas reuniones mantuvo la empresa antes del 28? 0

¿Cuántas desde el 1 de Julio hasta el día 12? 4 (verdadero indicador de su ca-pa-ci-dad de trabajo….)

De lo poco acordado, todo han sido concesiones en el campo de la masa salarial; del resto de conceptos no se habla (por parte de la empresa, claro)

De una empresa que gestiona 1200 millones de euros, recortar 8 millones ¿sólo es posible de los salarios? Es un insulto a la inteligencia y un ejercicio de mala voluntad.

Como ejemplo, información de uno de los capítulos que se niegan a tocar: publicidad.

http://www.publico.es/espana/327352/metro/madrid/dispara/gasto/publicidad

Servicios mínimos abusivos

De forma sistemática se establecen –según gerencias- entre el 50 y el 90% del servicio. Sin palabras. Máxime cuando hay indicaciones donde esos servicios deberían quedar: hora punta de mañana y tarde (6 a 9; 17:30 a 20:30) al 40%; resto de horarios sin servicio. Muy interesante para aquellas personas “confundidas” con lo que son unos servicios mínimos reales.

Aviso para cualquier trabajador no funcionario de España

¿Se puede afirmar que lo pretendido en Metro de Madrid – a saber, vulneración de la legislación vigente respecto a los convenios colectivos- está sirviendo de laboratorio para calibrar la respuesta ante la posible modificación de la legislación laboral respecto a la vigencia de los convenios? SI.

En castellano: conviene saber que en España las relaciones empleado-empleador se rigen por convenios (propios, sectoriales, provinciales) donde se recogen las condiciones (económicas, vacaciones, etc) que afectan a cualquier trabajador (sea una tienda como una gran empresa).

De prosperar la vulneración de la ley POR PARTE DE UNA ADMINISTRACIÓN, ¿quién impedirá a un empresario privado desvincularse y modificar las condiciones de cualquier trabajador? ¿Por qué no ha trascendido el verdadero alcance de lo aquí pretendido?

They rightly claim various things:

- That before the strike without servicios mínimos started the administration had 0 (zero) meetings with the workers while after the strike started and in only 12 days they had 4 meetings with them

- They the administration is willing to talk only about the ammount for every wage not about the fact they are violating the law when they ignore the collective agreement.

- That this tour de force in metro is a laboratory experiment aimed at weighing up if ALL the workers will accept a salary reduction violating the collective agreements (in fact the madrid government is conservative but has received total support from the social-democrats)

- So they warn that all spanish workers are next.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 14 2010 16:08
miles wrote:
Valeriano,

what do you mean about the BBC? Are they any more biased than any other news organisation?

To be honest i think that most of the brit media is pretty anti-spanish, starting with the tabloids going through the "serious" papers and mags and i reckon that bbc probably follows the same path

baboon
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Jul 14 2010 19:29

I think that the BBC is the voice of British imperialism and this is all the more so for the nuances and greater depth expressed in its World Service.

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Jul 15 2010 09:02

Some relevant articles from the Spanish section of the ICC, all in Spanish I'm afraid:

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2896 - football used as a nationalist opium

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2892 - 'solidarity with the Madrid metro workers strike', with a letter of solidarity from (I guess) passengers

also two articles reflecting on the civil servants' 'day of action', one by the section and another from a new student collective that I haven't heard about before;

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2891

Los compañeros del grupo Colectivo Revolucionario de Estudiantes Espartaquistas que han iniciado su andadura con la publicación El Estudiante Proletario (Sevilla) nos envían la siguiente toma de posición sobre la "huelga de funcionarios del 8 de junio". Compartiendo en lo esencial su visión -más allá de las inevitables cuestiones a ser clarificadas en un ulterior debate- publicamos con entusiasmo su documento que expresa cómo va madurando en minorías proletarias la conciencia de clase y cómo se alzan voces que llaman a una lucha obrera autónoma contra la explotación y los crecientes ataques del capitalismo.

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2894

Also...a debate with another group called Alternativa Proletaria about the forthcoming September general strike
http://es.internationalism.org/node/2893

Seems to be a lot happening in Spain, many debates, new groups appearing, huge discontent...doubt whether the nationalist euphoria about the World Cup will last that long.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jul 15 2010 09:53
Alf wrote:
Some relevant articles from the Spanish section of the ICC, all in Spanish I'm afraid:

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2896 - football used as a nationalist opium

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2892 - 'solidarity with the Madrid metro workers strike', with a letter of solidarity from (I guess) passengers

also two articles reflecting on the civil servants' 'day of action', one by the section and another from a new student collective that I haven't heard about before;

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2891

Los compañeros del grupo Colectivo Revolucionario de Estudiantes Espartaquistas que han iniciado su andadura con la publicación El Estudiante Proletario (Sevilla) nos envían la siguiente toma de posición sobre la "huelga de funcionarios del 8 de junio". Compartiendo en lo esencial su visión -más allá de las inevitables cuestiones a ser clarificadas en un ulterior debate- publicamos con entusiasmo su documento que expresa cómo va madurando en minorías proletarias la conciencia de clase y cómo se alzan voces que llaman a una lucha obrera autónoma contra la explotación y los crecientes ataques del capitalismo.

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2894

Also...a debate with another group called Alternativa Proletaria about the forthcoming September general strike
http://es.internationalism.org/node/2893

Seems to be a lot happening in Spain, many debates, new groups appearing, huge discontent...doubt whether the nationalist euphoria about the World Cup will last that long.

Good articles, correct points of view...No, neither i think that the nationalist crap will last long. We'll see if the open assemblies take place in the sort run. I'll do as much as i can.

revolut
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Jul 17 2010 17:39

According to the Spanish media, the Strike Comittee has accepted the agreement proposed by the company. The strike would be stopped and the salaries of the workers will be reduced a 1%. All the unions have accepted the agreement, except Solidaridad Obrera. Anyway, it must be voted and approved by the General Meeting of the workers (I think next monday).