27th of March, 2012
European Federation of Public Service Union
(26 March 2012) The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) expresses its support to its affiliates taking part in the General Strike organised by all the Spanish trade union confederations.
The General Strike is to express opposition against the Spanish government’s labour market reform constituting a severe attack on working people, on the union movement and on the existing Spanish labour law. It significantly weakens the collective bargaining process and enables the employer to unilaterally modify salaries, working hours and other labour conditions.
The new law, imposed by decree, favours agreements at company level and promotes the individualisation of labour relations. It thus becomes easier and cheaper to dismiss workers and new models of precarious contracts are established both in the public and private sectors.
This labour reform will not create jobs, contrary to the government’s view. It condemns the Spanish society to job insecurity, focusing on vulnerable groups, namely women, youth and long-term unemployed.
EPSU rigorously rejects this policy approach. Growth cannot be initiated by giving employers all legal protection to freely dismiss workers, a serious breach of the ILO Convention 98 on the right to organise and bargain collectively. In fact this will create a new downwards spiral towards a deeper recession at the cost of Spanish working people.
The current changes in Spanish labour law follow the current European trend already seen in Romania, Hungary, Greece, Portugal. We wish all Spanish workers and their trade unions a successful strike to stop the current Government plans.
The EPSU secretariat calls on its affiliates to send messages of support to our Spanish affiliates.
27th of March, 2012
The Federation of Trade Unions from Public Administration
Letter of solidarity: General strike, Spain, 29th of March 2012
On behalf of the Federation of Trade Unions from Public Administration PUBLISIND and its members, we strongly express our solidarity for the general strike organized by all the Spanish trade union confederations on the 29th of March 2012.
We fully support the opposition of our colleagues to the government’s imposed austerity measures plans regarding the labor’s law reforms, but also amendments to the legislation.
We know that Spain’s financial situation is deteriorating rapidly, with debt reaching an historic high of 68.5 percent of GDP during the last quarter of 2011. It has now entered its second recession since 2009.
For most of the last decade, Spain kept its fiscal house in strict order, running small deficits or even surpluses. But the country was flooded with money after the introduction of the euro, and since then, Spain has suffered some of the worst unemployment levels seen in Europe; has seen its deficits swell; and has been forced to pay high interest rates as investors worried about its solvency.
The Spanish government announced new austerity measures. The wages of employees of state companies will be cut with about 25%-30%, in order to reduce the budget’s deficit with 8%. The first step will be the division of companies, by size. In large companies, the annual salary will be maximum 105,000 Euros, in the medium ones for about 80,000 Euros and the small companies will not exceed 55,000 Euros.
Also, the government is planning the restructuration of the public sector. In the administration, 100 jobs for counselors will be cut off and also, the number of agents from the public sector will be reduced. Another part of the plan, involves the privatization of 10% of state companies. Although Spain’s economy grew by 0.7% last year, in the first quarter of 2012, it will return to recession. This means new austerity measures are pending. So far, the government announced cuts of budgetary costs, higher taxes and a plan to combat the tax evasion.
Also, we should mention that the current changes in Spanish labor law follow the current European trend already seen in our country.
We hope that our colleagues will have a successful strike on the 29th of March 2012, to stop the Government’s new austerity measures.
In solidarity and with great concern!
2nd of April, 2012
Dear Stefan Teoroc,
On behalf of all the affiliates to the Spanish Federation of Public Employees (FSP-UGT), I would like to express our gratitude for your support and good wishes for the general strike we hold Thursday 29th of March.
The success of the strike is not only a demonstration of all workers’ and citizens’ clear disapproval to the conservative government’s politics, but also a success of democracy: despite of the threats and campaigns against the strike, the massive attendance of both the 24 hours-stop and the demonstrations has meant a clear message of the Spanish people willing to maintain their legal right to strike.
This general strike might have been the most important of all the ones that we have had during our democracy, since it expressed a clear NO to the intolerable newly approved Labor Market reform (a reform that is unfair to workers, inefficient to economy, useless to employment, and the biggest attack ever to public employees). But at the same time, the Spanish workers and citizens have used the strike to say NO to the shameless cuts in public spending that are being made regardless of the needs of people and the needs of an economy that have a pressing demand of growth and stimulus for growing.
I am sure that the conservative government of the Partido Popular will rectify. Until then, we public employees will keep fighting for our rights, fighting for collective bargaining, fighting for our salaries, and working conditions; fighting against the massive redundancies in the local, regional, and national administrations; fighting for maintaining quality public services and the Welfare State we fought so much for creating.
As many European media have pointed out, the success of the general strike in Spain might be a clear sign to the neo-liberal waves swiping throughout Europe. We have demonstrated that trade unions are more needed than ever, more useful than ever. Your support, the solidarity of the trade unions, has been a powerful vitamin that invigorated our fight. I hope that this good sign marks the inflexion point for a fairer, social Europe, for a better world.
Thanks again for your very much appreciated support and solidarity.
Greva generala – 29 martie 2012 – confederatii Spania