Spain: General strike against government cuts
The emergency economic adjustment plan approved to reduce public debt has caused a national outcry. Public sector trade unions have mobilised their members and civil society to call for a general strike in opposition to the moves.
The unions claim that the package of extraordinary measures proposed by Spanish Prime Minster Rodríguez Zapatero’s government will hit public sector workers and vulnerable groups in society, including pensioners, children, and the unemployed.
The salary cuts that are being imposed as part of the reform measures will reduce the average earnings of public sector teachers by between 5.5 - 7.5 per cent and will affect almost 500,000 teachers working in public sector non-university education institutions throughout Spain.
General Secretary of Federación de Enseñanza de la Unión General de Trabajadores,FETE-UGT, Carlos López Cortiña, said: “The government proposal cannot be considered as a solution to the crisis, since the ones responsible for the crisis will not have to share the burden of the effects. However, the workers who didn't cause the crisis are paying the price.”
General Secretary of the Comisiones Obreras Teachers’ Federation,FECCOO, José Campos Trujillo, believes the plan will drastically reduce public investment which will “prolong the recession and as a consequence prevent job creation from being the central objective of economic activity.”
Representatives of the Confederación Intersindical, STEs, stressed that the measures are focusing on the reduction of public spending without trying to increase the government’s income by other channels. STE suggested a focus on eliminating tax fraud and the informal economy, incremental increases in income tax rates, or the implementation of taxes on financial transactions.
EI expresses its solidarity with the teachers of Spain in their battle to defend their incomes and guarantee quality public education for the future.