Monday, 20 February 2012

Thousands come out against labour reforms

Demo in Madrid
(Photo: EFE/Gustavo Cuevas)
Hundreds came out in Algeciras and other towns in the Campo de Gibraltar
SPAIN (Agencies) Yesterday was a day of protest all over the country - in 57 cities, mainly provincial capitals. The main unions, CC. OO. and UGT, convened the demonstrations in protest at the labour reforms approved the previous week by the Government, to be rubber-stamped by Congress soon. The major concentrations of protesters were, naturally, in the major cities, some of which reported only a few incidents. On the whole, the demos were without major problems, or, as one Deputy put it, they were an 'example of good democracy'. There were a few incidents in Valencia, where protests turned violent largely thanks to the usual troublemakers. Although it is not a capital city, the Campo demo was held in Algeciras, where several hundred people (as usual there is much discrepancy about the numbers) gathered in the Plaza Alta and went on to parade through the streets. Political parties were represented by those from all parties except, of course, the governing Partido Popular (PP). But what were they actually protesting about?>>>
The labour reforms include, among many other things, making it much easier to make workers redundant, as well as cutting a series of rights that the unions say have been acquired over the years.

In speeches to the demonstrators, two union leaders said that last Friday, only five days after the reform was published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE, Official State Bulletin), five companies in the Campo presented official redundancy notices. "From now on we will no longer have employers. We will have slave masters," said one. Another said, "The reform is indecent and must be stopped in the streets."

One of the best banners, albeit handwritten on a piece of cardboard, was a quote supposedly from Mahatma Ghandi: "When a law is unjust, it is right to disobey it."

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