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General strike in Spain

La prensa internacional se hace eco:

Spanish workers hold general strike over labour reforms

Spanish unions are holding a general strike to protest against labour reforms which the new government hopes will help cut unemployment.

Road, rail and air transport are all due to be affected, with domestic and European flights cut to a fraction of their usual volume.

Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government is to unveil measures on Friday to save tens of billions of euros.

The strike is the government’s first big challenge since taking office.

Scuffles broke out between protesters and police as workers from Spain’s largest unions picketed at the capital’s bus depot early on Thursday.

The interior ministry said a total of 58 people were detained and nine were injured.

‘Crisis’

Outside Atocha – one of Madrid’s main rail stations – picketers waved red union flags and blew shrill whistles as police looked on.

Overnight, the UGT union said that participation in the strike was “massive” and said that virtually all workers at Renault, SEAT, Volkswagen and Ford car factories around Spain had honoured it during the shift.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

The unions see it not just as a trial of strength but as a battle over the future of the welfare state”

Gavin HewittEurope editor

Regional TV stations in Andalusia in the south, Catalonia in the northeast and Madrid were also off-air because of the strike.

With the EU’s highest rate of unemployment, Spain is under pressure to reduce its budget deficit and bring its public finances under control.

“The question here is not whether the strike is honoured by many or few, but rather whether we get out of the crisis,” the country’s Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said.

“That is what is at stake, and the government is not going to yield.”

The country’s two biggest unions called the strike to demonstrate against new legislation which makes it easier and cheaper for companies to fire employees.

Protest marches are planned throughout the country during the evening.

‘Brutal reform’

The new legislation, approved in February, also reduces maximum severance pay to 33 days’ salary for each year worked, compared with the current 45 days.

The government insists the reforms will create a more flexible system for businesses and workers, in a country with a stagnant economy that needs to start creating jobs.

Polls have suggested only 30% of workers will take part in the strike but observers say the results of regional elections on Sunday – which punished the ruling People’s Party – may lead to greater participation.

Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, leader of the CCOO trade union, said the strike was “a just response to a brutal reform of our system of labour relations”.

One protester in the capital Madrid, Maria Jose, said: “This labour reform was meant to protect entrepreneurs and what it really protects are big companies.

“That is why we are here fighting together.”

Under an agreement between the government and the unions, at least a minimum service of a third of local trains and buses is due to run, with one in 10 domestic and one in five European flights.

Mr Rajoy, who took office in December, defended his measures on the grounds that they would eventually generate more jobs.

“No government has passed as many reforms in its first 100 days in office as this one,” he said on Tuesday, speaking on a visit to South Korea.

“The biggest mistake would be to do nothing,” the Spanish prime minister added.

Are you in Spain? What do you think of the planned labour reforms? Are you taking part in the strike? Will you be affected by the strike? You can send us your views and experiences using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

Espagne : les syndicats fêtent les 100 jours du gouvernement par une grève générale

Le grève générale a commencé avant le lever du soleil en Espagne, jeudi 29 mars.

Le grève générale a commencé avant le lever du soleil en Espagne, jeudi 29 mars.
(CESAR MANSO / AFP)

Pour les 100 jours au pouvoir de Mariano Rajoy, les syndicats lui offrent une grève générale. Ils appellent à manifester dans une centaine de villes, jeudi 29 mars, contre la réforme du droit du travail mise en place par le gouvernement de droite. Comisiones Obreras, l’un des principaux syndicats, s’attend à “une marée démocratique”, mais de nombreux Espagnols ne peuvent pas se permettre de perdre une journée de salaire dans un contexte de rigueur. Et Mariano Rajoy affirme qu’il ne cédera pas.

La génération “nimis” en première ligne

Ils ont entre 20 et 35 ans, sont diplômés, trop peut-être, et vivent avec moins de 1000 euros par mois. Ce sont les “nimis” ( de “ni mismo”, qui signifie “même pas”). Trois d’entre eux témoignent dans Libération (article payant) jeudi. “Tous mes profs nous poussent à émigrer”, raconte Maria, 24 ans, titulaire d’un master d’économie. Elle vit chez ses parents et gagne 200 euros “les bons mois”, en travaillant en intérim. Sergio, 28 ans, lui aussi titulaire d’un master, vit à présent avec ce qui était “un extra” auparavant. Il gagne 287 euros par mois en étant pion dans un lycée. Franco, 26 ans, diplômé en philo, gagne “tout juste 400 euros par mois”, alors “empocher 1000 euros pour un job, dit-il, c’est de l’ordre du rêve !”.

Selon le quotidien, “90% de cette classe d’âge estime que la situation économique ne va faire qu’empirer”. Ces jeunes devraient donc “participer activement à la grève générale”, pour tenter de faire plier le gouvernement.

Mariano Rajoy, stoïque malgré les critiques

Le chef du gouvernement espagnol, au pouvoir depuis exactement 100 jours, affronte sa première grève générale. Mais il y est préparé. A Bruxelles, le 31 janvier, il annonçait à son homologue finlandais : “La réforme du droit du travail va me coûter une grève générale.” Selon Le Figaro, il aurait même ajouté à cette remarque un “sourire satisfait”. En effet, le mécontentement des syndicats “sert l’image de dureté qu’il veut renvoyer à l’étranger”, analyse Les Echos. Car l’Union européenne lui met la pression. Il a promis à Bruxelles de réduire les dépenses publiques de 35 milliards d’euros, pour abaisser le déficit de 8,5% en 2011 à 5,3% d’ici la fin 2012. Pour cela, il annoncera vendredi, au lendemain de la grève générale, qu’elle soit très suivie ou non, un “budget très sévère”.

“On ne peut pas accuser d’inaction le gouvernement” du Parti populaire, analyse le quotidien espagnol El Pais. Mais la politique économique espagnole est violemment critiquée sur au moins trois points, selon le quotidien : “la crainte que les plafonds de déficits ne soient pas respectés cette année”, à cause du “retard pris dans l’adoption du budget” ;  le fait que la réforme financière soit moins agressive que la réforme du marché du travail ; “l’absence, enfin, de mesures de relance de la croissance”.

Défiance vis-à-vis des syndicats

Le quotidien conservateur El Mundo fustige pour sa part les syndicats, qui “protestent contre une réforme du travail après avoir laissé le chômage franchir la barre des 5 millions de sans emploi”, ainsi que l’opposition socialiste, qui, bien qu’elle n’ait pas appelé à la grève, “a fait montre de la soutenir”.

L’impact de cette journée de grève générale pourrait d’ailleurs être limité par plusieurs facteurs. A commencer par un accord de service minimum, conclu entre les syndicats et les pouvoirs publics.

Par ailleurs, de nombreux Espagnols craignent de perdre une journée de salaire dans un contexte de rigueur. “Je comprends qu’ils fassent grève. La réforme ne servira qu’à licencier les gens plus facilement et avec moins d’argent”, a expliqué à l’AFP Pedro Moreno, employé dans une grande surface des environs de Madrid. Avec un taux de chômage à près de 23%, “ce n’est pas le moment de perdre des jours de travail”, a ajouté cet homme de 32 ans. “Je ne vais pas mettre mon emploi en danger à cause de ce que disent les syndicats. Je ne crois pas qu’ils défendent les véritables intérêts des travailleurs”, commentait, sceptique lui aussi, Miguel Angel, fonctionnaire âgé de 51 ans.

FTVi

http://www.francetv.fr/info/greve-generale-en-espagne_77991.html

Categorías:Movilizaciones
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