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Mass protest as strike organisers face prison
A DEMONSTRATION against restrictions on the 'right to go on strike' brought thousands of people to the streets in Madrid this week.
Spain's two main unions, the labourers' commission (CCOO) and general workers' union (UGT) organised the protest and have publicly slammed the 'bullying campaign and oppressive régime' of the current government.
Union leaders Ignacio Fernández Toxo (CCOO) and Cándido Méndez (UGT) stressed their support for 265 people who are facing prison sentences for organising blanket strikes across Spain condemning wage cuts, tax hikes, lack of jobs and a general worsening of working conditions.
Not one of the accused parties displayed any violent or verbally-aggressive behaviour at any point, and the demonstrations were designed to be peaceful, say Toxo and Méndez.
“The fundamental right to go on strike is provided for in the Spanish Constitution and recognised at law,” recalled Méndez.
“By attempting to outlaw the exercising of this right, the government is going against the principle of democracy, which this country spent 35 years fighting for.”
Some of the mass strikes related to companies in conflict with unions over changes in working conditions or across-the-board redundancies, such as Coca-Cola and Airbus, Toxo points out.
And in the case of Coca-Cola, the Supreme Court has ruled the redundancies in question null and void and ordered the firm to take back all employees who were laid off.
Méndez and Toxo called for the threats of prison affecting the 265 strike organisers to be removed immediately and for the government to cease to 'criminalise' lawful public demonstrations, strikes, and the activities of union leaders and members.
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