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Workfare in Spain

Spain might become the next country in the EU to introduce its own workfare scheme. The government is planning to introduce a compulsory work program for the unemployed. The workers on the program would be paid the official minimum wage but the placements aren’t voluntary and don't have to be connected to the person’s normal trade. The work could last as long as the person has entitlement to claim the dole.

Liverpool SolFed remembers the Spanish revolution

Liverpool SolFed held a social night to commemorate the anniversary of the Spanish revolution in 1936. Performers, including local musician Dominic Dunn, entertained those who were gathered, while films from the civil war and the current miners' struggle in the Asturias were shown on the projector.

Police attack miners demo in Madrid

The police have attacked the massive demonstration in Madrid today in support of the miners. They have fired rubber bullets out of vans, shot tear gas, hit people with rifle butts, beaten elderly miners and have injured a small girl with a rubber bullet. On the ground after a police charge you could see discarded walking sticks and miners’ helmets.

huge crowds turn out to greet miners in Madrid

As the Spanish miners march towards Plaza del Sol in Madrid with their lamps lit, huge crowds turn out to cheer them on. The miners have been on strike for more than forty days against pit closures.

The popular mobilisation in solidarity with the miners includes 15-M , Marea Verde (against education cuts), Sindicato de Metal CNT Madrid, Solidaridad Obrera, CGT Madrid, the mainstream unions CC.OO and UGT, and neighbourhood assemblies. 

The miners say they will stay in Madrid until a solution is reached. The right wing government of Madrid, who have been taking repressive measures against striking workers in the city, have said it is forbidden for the miners to camp in Plaza del Sol.

The miners' march is only a day away from Madrid

The struggle against pit closures in northern Spain continues with the miners marching nearly 400 kilometres to Madrid. The march from the coalfields is nearly at the edge of the capital, where there will be a mass protest against plans to close down the mining industry.

The "Marcha Negra" started on the 22nd of June from Asturias, Leon and Teruel, all marching towards Madrid. The march from Asturias left from Mieres with eighty miners, with thousands of people there to see them off. The march from Leon, also with eighty miners, set off from Villablino and Bembibre. The two columns from Asturias and Leon met in La Robla with a lot of emotion and then marched together as the Marcha Norte, while the Aragon column from Teruel marched to Madrid from the north east.

Letter from an Asturias miner

We have translated this letter from a retired Asturias miner, responding to comments about the struggle and talking about his experiences. He explains a lot of the background to the dispute.

Miners in northern Spain block motorways and occupy pitheads against job losses and pit closures.

An indefinite strike started in the mines last week after the government announced a 60% cut in subsidies. This will mean effectively the end of the mining industry. The mining counties have already been hard hit by the crisis. Youth unemployment has tripled in Asturias since the start of the crisis and young people are leaving the county in search of work elsewhere. 
Since the start of the strike the miners have been blocking motorways all over the province of Asturias, using burning tyres and trees. They have blockaded the port in Gijon and blocked the train tracks from Madrid to Gijon. Two mines have been occupied for the past ten days. There have been demonstrations in Olviedo and Mieres in Asturias, and in Madrid.
There will be a general strike in the “comarcas mineras”, the mining counties of Asturias, Castilla Leon and Aragon on the 18th of June.

Highlights of a general strike report from CNT Madrid

00:00h The start of the strike. CNT militants head to the workplaces and the neighbourhoods.

00:15 Vallecas. The presence of a massive number of police, including plainclothes, taking people’s details, makes it difficult for people to picket the postal service and other places.

00:30 Police charge in Plaza de Santa Ana. A CNT comrade is injured by the police and has to go to hospital, needs stitches. Several arrests.

01:15 Mercamadrid. A large number of CNT pickets try to stop lorries leaving. They succeed at first, but a combination of police numbers and the passivity of the pickets from the reformist unions means lorries leave.

05:00h Entrevias depot. A picket of 100 people, a third of them members of the CNT. An enormous police presence, including horses, makes it difficult to picket. The few buses which leave have an escort of police motorbikes.

Massive turnout in general strike in Spain

Thursday’s general strike in Spain was more solid and more militant than the last general strike a year and a half ago. As economic conditions get worse, people see their rights taken away and unemployment, eviction rates and prices all rising while wages go down, and they are reacting accordingly. This labour reform is the most aggressive attack on workers’ rights since the transition to democracy.

The general strike started before midnight with pickets of the wholesale fruit and veg markets which receive deliveries all night. There were pickets of up to a thousand people and in many cases all delivery trucks were successfully turned away. There were also midnight pickets at night shifts in factories and at post offices and depots. In many cities groups of pickets went round closing down bars which were open after midnight.

The CNT calls a General Strike for March 29

Our Spanish sister section decided to call a 24-hour general strike for March 29, against the Labor Reform, the cuts, and the assaults on the working class. The CNT rejects any kind of negotiation over the rights conquered by the working class and demands the repeal of the Labor Reform. The strike call extends the call that has already been made for Galicia and the Basque Country. This call will be formalized in the coming days.

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