Spanish workers protest against labour reforms

Spanish workers protest against labour reforms

Over a million Spanish workers take to the streets across the country in protest against the governments labour reforms that enable bosses to unilaterally cut wages if they want, whenever they want. The government claims that by giving bosses the power to treat people like shit it will reduce Spain's unemployment rate of 23%, which is the highest in the developed world.

In Spain at the weekend it was estimated that well over 1,000,000 workers demonstrated across 57 cities against labour reforms.

Amongst other things, the reforms enable employers to reduce the pay of workers unilaterally. All they have to do is claim that it is necessary in order to ensure the business remains competitive, and they can reduce them at will.

The unemployed will lose all benefits if the reject the offer of any job three times and the government are creating training and apprenticeship contracts on disgusting pay, terms and conditions. There will also be an end to collective pay bargaining.

A Spanish teacher said that, “The labour reform is the perfect excuse for the government, which is a puppet of the banks and big corporations, to attack our living standards. This system is defrauding us all.”

The Spanish government claim that the reforms are necessary in order to reduce the 23% unemployment rate, currently the highest in the developed world. Spain’s youth unemployment rate is at 50%.

Posted By

working class s...
Feb 24 2012 00:08

Share

Attached files

Comments

akai
Feb 24 2012 09:09

It think it's rather poor that Libcom has articles focusing and linking to articles centered on the actions of the bourgeois unions which have sold out the workers. Don't see any difference between this shit and the mainstream left press.

Joseph Kay
Feb 24 2012 09:47

Any alternative links in English, or just complaints?

Serge Forward
Feb 24 2012 10:08
akai wrote:
It think it's rather poor that Libcom has articles focusing and linking to articles centered on the actions of the bourgeois unions which have sold out the workers. Don't see any difference between this shit and the mainstream left press.

Well, it'd only be poor if you held a substitutionist view that one particular union in Spain is the working class. Maybe we should just ignore any news and info on workers in Spain who are not in anarcho-syndicalist unions. That'll learn em, the sell outs!

Ed
Feb 24 2012 10:58
akai wrote:
It think it's rather poor that Libcom has articles focusing and linking to articles centered on the actions of the bourgeois unions which have sold out the workers. Don't see any difference between this shit and the mainstream left press.

Yeah, akai, I'd say that was massively unfair. Firstly, its not an article on "the actions of the bourgeois unions which have sold out the workers" anymore than covering the N30 strikes were.

Secondly, its not like this article in itself can just be taken on its own. WCSO has written one just recently on stuff going on in Valencia as well as demonstrations in other countries like Portugal. I think its important to get this international perspective from reports on what's going on in other countries (I sometimes wonder if the Greeks think there's literally nothing going on anywhere else, for instance, and whether that makes them think they might as well chuck it all in)..

Last thing, like JK says, we really, really, really would love some alternative links, articles etc in English.. anything you had would be really well received.. smile

Mark.
Feb 24 2012 11:09
Joseph Kay wrote:
Any alternative links in English... ?

alasbarricadas thread (machine translation)

akai
Feb 24 2012 11:34

I stand by my criticism. One can achieve an "international perspective" by providing news from neutral left perspectives, or simply copy the mainstream news or the international perspective can be from the point of view of the militant unions. Personally I am not interested in the former, although I suppose the readership is. It is fair enough to imply that if I do not produce material for Libcom, I shouldn't complain about what is produced, but I sent this comment for reflection since it simply would make more sense for a portal like this to promote the actions and stances of anarchosyndicalist movements, which the mainstream and left media do not do, than just repeat the ideologically neutral news reports.

soc
Feb 24 2012 11:57
akai wrote:
I stand by my criticism. One can achieve an "international perspective" by providing news from neutral left perspectives, or simply copy the mainstream news or the international perspective can be from the point of view of the militant unions. Personally I am not interested in the former, although I suppose the readership is. It is fair enough to imply that if I do not produce material for Libcom, I shouldn't complain about what is produced, but I sent this comment for reflection since it simply would make more sense for a portal like this to promote the actions and stances of anarchosyndicalist movements, which the mainstream and left media do not do, than just repeat the ideologically neutral news reports.

I understand you criticism however this is not the whole story. As for one, many of the mainstream news here serve as a departing point for reflecting the current situation. Of course, it would be better if we had reports from comrades on the ground, but that is sometimes isn't available, and with no better alternative, we must make the most out of the mainstream news articles. WCSO brings in these kind of mainstream news, and we won't have a better one until somebody, like taxikipali comes along and could provide a better source of information. Of course the mainstream articles are not ideologically neutral, as no report is neutral.

akai
Feb 24 2012 12:42

You don't have reports from comrades on the ground for a reason. Just reflect on it please.

Anyway, it is good to see people angry on the streets, but most likely this is being used instrumentally, as a show of power by the mainstream unions who will quickly set about making more compromises and trying to reradicalize things if the people get too militant or make too many demands.

I can only support the calls of our comrades in Spain who call on the working class not to be lead into a farse but instead to push for a general strike and organize themselves in militant unions controlled by the workers at the base.

In terms of links in English, here is one: http://internationalworkersassociation.blogspot.com/2012/02/cnt-mobilizes-across-country-against.html

Black Badger
Feb 24 2012 17:32

It's bizarre that Akai's principled - and minimal - anarchist/radical perspective on mainstream/business unions is being attacked on a website purportedly run by anarchists/radicals.

Serge Forward
Feb 24 2012 17:55
Black Badger wrote:
It's bizarre that Akai's principled - and minimal - anarchist/radical perspective on mainstream/business unions is being attacked on a website purportedly run by anarchists/radicals.

Nobody's uncritically supporting mainstream/business unions here. And it's only bizarre if you think that all workers' struggles centre on which union workers happen to belong to. But then, that would be substituting anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist organisations for the class itself. Personally, I think it'd be bizarre if we didn't criticise such substitutionism on a libertarian communist site.

Joseph Kay
Feb 24 2012 19:06

Akai, thanks for the link. Serge, I think you're projecting that onto what Akai's saying, I don't think anyone is claiming it's not class struggle unless you're a member of the CNT - not least the CNT:

Akai's link wrote:
It has mobilized and will continue advocating mobilizations like those it has been conducting in recent months, both in mobilizations called by the CNT, as in those carried out with other militant unions and social movements, and also in the demonstrations like those called by the institutional trade unions last weekend, where it participated, very critically

As a general point, if there's lots of better info out there, why not post it in the time it takes to complain that others haven't posted it?

Ed
Feb 24 2012 19:37
akai wrote:
It is fair enough to imply that if I do not produce material for Libcom, I shouldn't complain about what is produced

That's not at all what I was implying (though I know that you know how much I want you to contribute to the site wink ).. we always need feedback from users on content, even if we sometimes disagree with it (like in this case), as it helps us gauge the mood of our site's users..

That said, again, I know that you know that I agree with the following statement 100%:

Joseph Kay wrote:
As a general point, if there's lots of better info out there, why not post it in the time it takes to complain that others haven't posted it?

grin

grupo_ruptura
Feb 24 2012 20:46

The Demo in Madrid was reale Huge. The major unions (CCOO and UGT) have talked of 500.000 people, but it is clearly an overestimation, the Police counted 50.000 people and the main leftist newspaper ('El Pais'), about 130.000. It has been maybe the hugest demo in Madrid in the last years, except for that of the 15-0. This was a surprise even for the organizers, which are not really sure of which are their real force nowadays. Actually, the call for a general strike was conditioned to the success of this demo and the 'ascending movilizations' of the future.

A 'critical bloc' (Bloque critico) was called by the 'May 15 movement, and a libertarian bloc was called by some anarchists and supported by both CGT and CNT. With so much people in the demo, both blocs were clearly minoritarian.

At the end of the demo some eggs were launched against the union leaders giving the speech and at least one hit the target (they were not the main leaders, by the way, because there were so much people that they couldn't arrive to the speech tribune, I think). It is remarkable that some members of the main opposition party (the socialdemocrat PSOE, which collapsed in the last general elections) were present in some of the demos, despite this labour reform follow the path that open their labour reform in 2010 which was the main cause of the general strike of september 2010.

The right-wing PP (now in goverment) has absolute majority so no changes in labour reform are expected during the parlamentary procedure. Even so, the main unions leaders have said that they are not looking "confrontation" but "negociation".

Caiman del Barrio
Feb 25 2012 13:32
grupo_ruptura wrote:
At the end of the demo some eggs were launched against the union leaders giving the speech and at least one hit the target (they were not the main leaders, by the way, because there were so much people that they couldn't arrive to the speech tribune, I think).

Ah excellent, thanks for that, cos I saw this and didn't know what to make of it: http://www.demotix.com/news/1061886/paint-bombs-thrown-union-delegates-after-demonstration-madrid

grupo_ruptura
Feb 25 2012 14:20

I think I haven't seen these images in Spain. They have not received very much publicity. Thanks!