Oct 11, 2010
Ten million Spanish workers turned out for a 24-hour general strike – two thirds of the country’s work force. The party in power, which calls itself the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, and which is tied to the unions, nonetheless cut public workers’ pay by 5%, ranging from $70 to $280 a month less per person. It also changed the labor law to make it cheaper for bosses to lay off – at a time when unemployment is already 20%.
The strike shut down entire sectors of the economy – steel and auto, especially. The ports were closed and there was only minimal public transit. Few planes, trains or intercity buses moved. The strike was total in the construction industry, which has been severely hurt by layoffs. Even a TV station had to broadcast that all its programs were cancelled due to the strike. Workers demonstrated in great numbers in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Valencia.
Will this government, harassed by the right, give in to the pressure of the workers’ mobilization? Or will the workers be content if the government softens just some of the blows aimed at workers? No one knows yet.
But these strikes and demonstrations can bolster the morale of all those who know we must act, not stop at just one day of protest. Just as they can open perspectives for all those who understand the role the working class plays in society.
The working class shouldn’t pay for the crisis; the capitalists and bankers must. There must be more mobilizations aimed at throwing back all the measures which attack the workers and the popular masses.