Spain: Madrid CNT Calls for Strike Participation, Skepticism Towards the Official Unions

The CNT of Madrid are calling for participation in the September 29 general strike while noting the dangerous possibility that the state-sponsored unions who are calling the strike may call if off if asked to "negotiate".

Submitted by OliverTwister on September 14, 2010

There's no doubting that we have more than enough reasons to strike. The politicians and employers have been burning us for two years. First they gorged themselves on redundancies while turning all of the public dough into a fine cake for the banks and businesses, until unemployment arrived at almost five million people. When they could no longer fire anyone they began to cut wages for functionaries and employees of private businesses, as though the government had fired the starting pistol for a race to cut salaries.

Now, not only are they imposing another labor reform which will make redundancies easier (though it certainly didn't cost them much before), but they also want to lower pensions, increase the retirement age, privatize healthcare...

In the face of this outrage, a one-day strike (or rather, a workday of symbolic unemployment) is too little to late. The CCOO and UGT [official Spanish union federations] only called the strike when the government decided to do without them at the negotiating table, in order to pass the reform by decree. The only goal of this symbolic strike is to try to maintain their monopoly on official -though not real- representation of the working class. At root this is what they've been searching for for years, through constant concessions and humiliating surrenders. In short, they only want to be called in to negotiate yet another reform, which will be the present reform covered in makeup and stamped with their seal of approval. This is exactly what they did after the last general strike of June 20th.

The official union model, of elections to the company council, union activists paid for by the employers [liberados], state subsidies [subvenciones] and mediated action has brought us, in large part, to this situation, just as the CNT has been warning for a long time.

It's not in vain that they've spent months knocking on all the doors to see who would help them. They even cozied up to the CNT to ask us to call the strike with them, even going so far as to offer us a spot in the photo. What an honour! It goes without saying that we declined to participate in their circus. The anarchosyndicalism of the CNT doesn't run on photos and appearances, but rather on solidarity, mutual aid, self-management, and direct action.

Therefore we are calling for participation in a strike, a real strike, not so that they will call on us to negotiate a reform and some cuts to which we are radically opposed, but to throw the reform and the cuts out altogether. But above all, to take the first step in the reconstruction of a class-conscious unionism, one that will defend the interests of everyone who's been suffering from the downpour of the last two years while the state unionists have participated in the spectacle of giving out subsidies and cutting rights. And we are going to do this while following the principles we've always had, without accepting state subsidies or delegating our power to others.
We will call for the strike, we will form pickets and we will protest. Direct action will be our identifying mark on September 29th. We will do this to try to demolish the labor reform that cheapens firings, facilitates layoffs, favors pulling away from labor agreements (including salary tables), and grants full powers to the union bureaucrats in the critical sectors to negotiate with the employers to the detriment of the workers' assemblies...

Worker, unemployed, student... it's past time to reclaim what is ours, because if we don't they will continue to strip our rights. If you're fed up with seeing how the state unions boss us around, and you want to take part in the construction of revolutionary unionism, a unionism that doesn't sell itself to our enemy in exchange for a plate of state subsidies, come to the branches of the CNT or contact our workplace branch in your company.

Starting on September 29th and even before, we'll see you in the street, against the abuses of the employers, the politicians, the bankers, and the pickpocketing so-called "unions", because the struggle doesn't stop here.


Translated by OliverTwister