MADRID As was announced in October, the two main unions, CC.OO. and UGT, called a General Strike for next Wednesday, November 14. The media has since been finding out who is and who is not coming out. The union system in Spain is complex and dense. Small union groups are affiliated, or not, with one or other of the Big Two, and it requires a great deal of time to make the connections as not all of them reveal their political connections. However, an overview of the situation indicates that the General Strike may not be as general as the unions hope. Several of the larger affiliates have said they are not coming out, including two that group many teachers and civil servants, but not all. So what can we expect?>>>
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Taking the previous GS in March, chances are it will only have a minimal impact at every day level. Certainly, factories and large businesses may be closed or understaffed, but transport unions, for instance, are obliged to establish a minimum service. This applies to many entities but large shop chains tend to be cautious and some close shop for the day, especially in larger cities.
This particular strike is being held in conjunction with other European unions, particularly of Portugal and Greece (which had a GS of its own just a few days ago). Unions in France and Germany have said they will support their Spanish colleagues without specifying exactly how.
One CC.OO. leader in the Basque country has said that the Confederation of European Unions is backing its Spanish affiliates, and that the strike called in Spain is 'acquiring worldwide dimensions'. He announced, too, that the Confederation of American Unions (mostly Latin American, not USA) will be holding demonstrations in front of Spanish embassies.
The police and Guardia Civil are on the whole not allowed to come out on strike - though sometimes they do - so there will certainly be full crowd control in most big towns and cities. If the past is anything to go by, and it is, the riot police can be very brutal (often that seems to get worse when the PP is in government).
We will see what happens, but in the meantime, we would advise you to do your big shopping another day, and it might be better not to take your kids to school, as the education unions are likely to come out pretty much in full, in protest at the severe cutbacks they are undergoing.