| STAFF working for Bankia and Banco de Valencia have staged a strike and protest march today over the mass redundancies about to take place.
The demonstration, which is being held across the country, is a prelude to a nationwide bank workers' strike on Wednesday, February 6 – the first-ever in the sector since the 1990s.
In response to EU demands, banks which have been bailed out have been ordered to carry out radical restructures, including eliminating thousands of staff members in a country which already has one of the worst unemployment rates in Europe, with 26.6 per cent of the population, or six million people, out of a job.
Bankia alone is shedding 4,900 employees, and workers across the industry estimate that a further 20,000 in total could go in Spanish banks this year.
They are protesting because they say it was politicians and greedy bank bosses whose poor financial management caused the crisis in the sector, and yet it is the 'shop floor' people – the workers – who have to pay the price.
Their aim is to get the banks to cut the number of redundancies as much as possible, and offer the best possible conditions to those who, in the end, do have to be let go of.
Around 20 provincial capital cities in Spain are expected to join the strike and protest on Wednesday next week.