Spanish workers responded with massive support to the call for a March 29 general strike by the country’s two main union centers CC.OO and UGT in opposition to the government’s attack on employment and trade union rights. According to the unions, some 77% of the working population exercised their right to strike, with the figure hitting over 95% in industry, transport and construction. Tens and hundreds of thousands of workers and citizens took part in actions in 111 cities across the country.
Employers have already made ample use of the labour ‘reform’ to facilitate mass layoffs and unilaterally impose wage and benefit cuts While the unions reiterated their call for negotiations with government and employers to tackle rapidly worsening unemployment, the government responded to the strike by announcing €27 billion in proposed budget cuts. This figures still falls short of the cuts which the banks and the European Commission are demanding: Spain is being called on to reduce its budget deficit by 5.5% of GDP over the next two years, more than the 4.7 % being demanded of Greece and double the figure imposed on Ireland.
The unions have vowed to continue their mobilization against the government’s efforts “to take away everything”.