Coal mines ignite in Asturias (with updates)

Coal mines ignite in Asturias (with updates)

Coal miners in the historically militant Asturias region of Spain have been fighting a bitter struggle for survival. Please see the comments below for frequent updates.

Around 8,000 miners have been involved in ongoing strikes and militant protests after the government announced cuts to subsidies for the region's coal mines.

There are around 40 mines in the country, mainly in the north, where they offer vital jobs in an increasingly depressed economy. The end of the subsidy will effectively mean the end of those jobs, as Spanish coal prices will increase beyond those of imported alternatives. The strikers view winning the strike as essential to their livelihoods. It is increasingly becoming a set-piece battle as the government deepens its austerity program.

Consequently, they have utilised various forms of direct action to maximise the impact of the strike.

During the week, miners set up 16 roadblocks, severely affecting traffic in the region. One burning tire block caused a five-mile jam for over two hours. They also blocked access to the main port of Gijon, closed access to a major road tunnel after "persons unknown" sabotaged the CCTV, and protested outside a major power station. Attempts to break the roadblocks to transport people and goods in and out of the mines led to running battles with police. The strikers used rocks, concrete blocks, and home-made rocket launchers.

On Friday miners blocked several roads and two railway lines. A mineshaft is occupied, and strikers have camped out in the main square of the regional capital, Oviedo.

Posted By

Jun 10 2012 09:20


  • The strikers view winning the strike as essential to their livelihoods. It is increasingly becoming a set-piece battle as the government deepens its austerity program.

Attached files


Caiman del Barrio
Jul 19 2012 06:56
fingers malone wrote:
The government is importing coal from Colombia, the miners are blocking the coal trucks.

Do you have a link for this (preferiblemente en castellano si es posible)? Might launch a doubtlessly flawed attempt to coordinate something with Colombian contacts via the Latin American anarcho list...

fingers malone
Jul 19 2012 10:15

Bien, te lo busco tio.

Jul 19 2012 23:04

Anti-cuts protest by firemen in Mieres (Asturias) today


Major demos across Spain today - photos from Madrid

More photos

Jul 20 2012 11:18
fingers malone
Jul 20 2012 12:20

Interesting the firemen shouting at the police in the video, a few days ago there were people saying that firemen were protecting people from the police violence in the miners demo. In Spain like a lot of countries the firemen are usually more conservative and allied with the police than they are in the UK.

[edit] just read on another site (el ventano) that the firemen are behind that grille because the police had shut them in there, blimey.

fingers malone
Jul 20 2012 13:30

police charges in Lavapies, alternative-ish barrio in central Madrid with big immigrant population

fingers malone
Jul 21 2012 04:06

“Unions and the employers see the beginning of the end of the mining conflict after making an agreement which doesn’t include a greater economic role for the government in the mines.”
Can’t translate the agreement as it’s all in economics-ese and I can’t read it.
Can anyone tell us what is going on?

Jul 21 2012 09:21

That report from

I can't make much sense of it either.

fingers malone
Jul 25 2012 20:02

Sorry for loads of facebook photos.
"Asturias olympics" picture

fingers malone
Jul 26 2012 06:48

Miners are blocking the power station at Compostilla to stop lorries of imported coal.

fingers malone
Jul 27 2012 17:41

If I've understood right seems that the minister Soria has refused any new negotiations and the road blocks of motorways are back on.

Jul 29 2012 16:44

Caiman del Barrio
Jul 29 2012 20:26
fingers malone wrote:

police charges in Lavapies, alternative-ish barrio in central Madrid with big immigrant population


fingers malone
Jul 29 2012 21:18

It was in the evening of the big demo on the 19th July, the police were chasing people around in central Madrid and were attacking people in Lavapies, a neighbourhood where they have been carrying out anti-immigrant mass stops recently. The police action in Lavapies has got a bit famous as there is a video where you can hear the riot police saying "why don't we smash up the bars?" which has been passed around a lot.

Jul 30 2012 10:15

Miners in Aragón have voted to go back to work. Report in Spanish here.

alasbarricadas thread


Aug 3 2012 10:08

Strike called off. I haven't seen anything about this in English but here's a report in Spanish from Leonoticias:

El Gobierno gana y la huelga de la minería leonesa llega a su fin

Some comment from the CSI (Corriente Sindical de Izquierda), criticising the role of the CCOO and UGT leadership:

CSI ante el conflicto de la minería

CCOO y UGT dan por finalizados los encierros y las movilizaciones de los mineros

Machine translation:

Candido Gonzalez Carnero wrote:

Asturbulla, 03/08/2012

Trade unions call on the miners back to work and businesses, who return to "normal"

I think today is a sad day because they just consummated, once more, which both feared from the beginning. Unfortunately this time we are not wrong. Again, and are many throughout the story, the UGT and CCOO have betrayed the exemplary struggle the miners have made in recent months.

Everything seemed to indicate that it was not normal what was happening, it was understandable that after the support given in Madrid at the start of the miners, these two unions publicly announce a change of strategy in the fight and that, practically, from 11 July when it was more moral force for their support to intensify the fight, it is surrendered by providing a solution to the PP government to continue to implement, with more power, more cuts and other adjustments in this and in other industrial sectors.

At no time workers held a meeting, or when to start and to raise the demonstrations nor the time to complete them. Without this participation, CCOO and UGT have led the miners to strike for two months and closures of more than 60 days in the pits, when they could have used other resources, taking into account that the conflict could be a long process and hard.

The struggle of mining has been exemplary, no doubt, and neither the miners nor the society we value this as an undesirable final defeat, but as a betrayal of unions which, unfortunately, repeat quite often.

The trail left by the miners is the benchmark to continue against cuts and anti-crime policy that is bringing this government and its partners, against the lower classes.

But the conflict is not over, now comes the repression. The struggle of mining must have the necessary social support to more than 100 people involved in lawsuits as a result of the demonstrations.

This chronicle, " The coal mafia , "written during the miners' march to Madrid, can summarize quite well the situation of mining.

Candido Gonzalez Carnero is a member of CSI (Union Current of the Left)

fingers malone
Aug 3 2012 10:21

Mark's link from CSI translated.

The unions ask the miners to return to work and the companies, that they return to “normality”.
Today is a sad day as what has happened, yet again, is what we feared so much from the beginning. Disgracefully this time we were also not proved wrong. One more time, like so many times throughout history, UGT and CCOO have betrayed the exemplary struggle that the miners have carried out for the last few months.
Everything made you think that what was happening wasn’t normal, it wasn’t comprehensible that after the support given in Madrid to the march of the miners, these two unions would publicly announce a change of strategy in the struggle that, after 11th of July, when moral strength was at its highest for intensifying the struggle, because of the support received, the unions have renounced it making it easier for the PP to carry on, with increased strength, more cuts and more layoffs in this and other industrial sectors.
At no time was there any assembly of the workers, not at the start of the mobilisations nor at the finish. Without having a say, UGT and CCOO have taken the miners through a strike of two months and more than 60 days occupying the mines, when they could have used other methods, bearing in mind that the conflict could be a long and hard process.
The miners struggle has been exemplary, without a doubt, and neither the miners nor society can see this unwanted end as a defeat, but as a betrayal by these unions which, disgracefully, do this often.
The wake left by the miners is the reference point to follow against the cuts and against the criminal policy which this government and their collaborators are implementing, against the disadvantaged classes.
But the conflict isn’t over, now comes the repression. The struggle in the mines needs backup for the more than 100 people who are undergoing court cases as a consequence of the struggle.
This article “La mafia del carbon” written during the miners march to Madrid, gives a good summary of the situation in mining.
Candido Gonzalez Carnero is a member of CSI (Corriente Syndical de Izquierda)

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 3 2012 19:23

This from SMSC (British solidarity grouping, linked to old NUMmers maybe? Not sure...):

The Spanish miners’ unions CCOO/FITAG-UGT have announced a return to work today.

CCOO leader Felipe Lopez made it clear to the Rajoy government, however, that “we are not stopping the mobilisations. We are aware that we are in a different moment that requires a different strategy. Nobody can hide away from the permanent mobilisation. We are going to do what will hurt them (the government) most, where it hurts them most and in the moment that it will hurt them most, with the least price paid by the workers.”

The strike may have ended temporarily

The dispute clearly hasn’t.

And the vital need for solidarity most certainly hasn’t.

In line with that understanding, the SMSC has today transferred a further £10,000 to the joint CCOO/FITAG–UGT account.

£733 of this total has been sent In Memory of David Guy, the President of the Durham Miners’ Association who died last week.

This latest donation will be welcomed in Spain as the miners and their families have been effectively without any income since the end of May.

The fight goes on…SMSC will not be taking early retirement


fingers malone
Aug 3 2012 20:16

Yeah, that is right, there is some NUM connection.
More than 100 people are up on criminal charges from the mobilisations so they will still need a lot of solidarity.

Caiman del Barrio
Aug 8 2012 21:19
Aug 27 2012 21:32

Open cast miners in Bierza carry on with their strike without the 2 big unions. 165 workers taking part there out of 2000.(?)

Aug 28 2012 21:18

Video we're showing at a public meeting tomorrow.
You might have seen some of the images but most of this is newly subtitled in to English I think.

Aug 29 2012 09:09

More reports of miners back out on strike:
Se reactiva la huelga minera a pesar de los sindicatos mayoritarios

fingers malone
Aug 29 2012 10:30

This is really interesting but I don’t understand it at all. V briefly it says about 1000 out of 2000 workers for the 17 subcontracted sections of Union Minera del Norte are on strike, which began last Thursday. It’s about a 200 euro pay cut. The number of miners on strike is steadily increasing and there have been some blockades.
Does anyone know:
1. Who called it?
2. How come loads of people are not on strike?
3. Where else is on strike, and why partial strikes now?
4. What’s the big picture?

Aug 29 2012 11:30

There's a report from Leonoticias here but tbh I've no idea what's going on.