Dispatch from Spain

Why Spanish Workers Are In the Streets

The European Trade Union Confederation has called a day of action and solidarity throughout Europe on 14 November to fight against the austerity policies being deployed
throughout Europe. This day of action will mean a general
strike in this country, which, for the first time in recent
history, will also be simultaneously held in other European
countries.

In Spain, the recession is taking an incredible toll on the
population. We have an intolerably high unemployment rate
(more than 25%), the welfare state has been rapidly
dismantled and public services and labour relations are
deteriorating.

With this strike we want to change European policies, which
only pay attention to the voices of the powerful. We also
want to fight against employment reforms and a policy of
dogmatic deficit reduction, which has brought us close to
having 6 million unemployed.

Unemployment benefits are being cut. The unemployment rate among young people in Spain is over 50%, condemning our youth to social exclusion or emigration. The education cuts pushed through by the government are depriving many of any possibility of accessing higher education and force a
classist, sexist and conservative education on them. The cuts
in the health budget and the introduction of prescription
charges mean that the most disadvantaged could be left
outside the national health system, and the lack of budget
provision for the dependent care law leaves thousands of
people without appropriate care. As a result, thousands of
families are pushed towards social exclusion.

The government’s path is not the way to emerge from the
crisis. The sacrifice is not being shared by the whole of
society: the economic and financial elites are spared and
some even benefit from it, protected by the government.
Politicians are shamelessly defrauding the democratic
process. This is why we will be striking.

Fernando Lezcano
for the CCOO (Workers’ Commissions) Excerpt from THE GUARDIAN (November 14, 2012)

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