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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strikes in the Basque Country, Greece and Metro Madrid

Yesterday, June 29, there were general strikes in Greece and the Basque Country, as well as a sectorial 'wild' strike at Madrid's subway that blocked the metropolis.

Basque general strike has been considered a great success: about 75% of workers joined it in the Western autonomous region. Particularly strong incidence in the industrial, banking and administration sector, though the arbitrarily high 'minimal services' may have hidden some of the impact, specially in transport. 65,000 people demonstrated in the main protests at the provincial capitals.

In Navarre the following was irregular, with total closure in the North, high following in the Pamplona urban area, specially in the industrial sector, and more occasional impact in the South.

Police presence was overwhelming, so whoever went to the strike did so on their own will. The opposite may not be true in some cases as it is well known that some big corporations like El Corte Inglés coerce their workers systematically.

The regional governments and corporative associations have tried to minimize the impact but their figures (well under 10%) are simply not credible at all.

Demo Donostia (San Sebastian)

Demo Vitoria-Gasteiz

Demo Iruñea (Pamplona)

Above pictures from Gara. More images and some videos can be found at La Haine and the sites of LAB union.

Sources: Gara (link1, link 2) , La Haine, Euskal Herrian Info, Hala Bedi Irratia, Eguzki Irratia.

Greece keeps up the fight

Dramatic fights between protesters and the police broke again at the Republic's Parliament today in yet another episode of the class war that is gradually gaining momentum as the rich and their lackey governments try to put the cost of the crisis they have created on the workers' shoulders.

It happened in the context of another strike called at public service and transport sectors.

Source: Al Jazeera and local TV.

In this context, Al Jazeera blog on Europe has an interesting analysis by Barnaby Philips. It deals with the occasional home-made bombs so typical of Greece, where revolutionary factions are particularly strong, in particular with the latest, unusual, parcel-bomb that killed an aide of the Greek interior minister. What really called my attention was this paragraph:

I was surprised when I asked a conservative Athenian friend what he thought of the bombing. “I’m sorry that someone was killed, but I’m glad they let the bomb off, to show how unhappy people are” was his blunt reply.

Metro Madrid strike paralyzes the metropolis

The second day of the strike at Madrid subway was also the first one of "wild" strike, not respecting the abusive minimum services of 50% imposed by the government, which is also the owner.

The reasoning behind is that, if the regional government is taking illegal measures, breaching the collective agreement, workers are also entitled to break the law.

According to La Haine, it was a total success with not a single train circulating today. This totally disrupted the normal life at the Spanish capital, with people having to walk long distances, take packed buses or almost impossible to find taxis.

Tomorrow the strike continues. It will be the last day, also without minumum services... by the moment. The ball is now at the right-wing regional government's court: workers demand a written compromise that it will respect the collective agreement signed by both parties months ago.

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