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News :: Labor
spanish workers continue to fight
24 Sep 2004
MADRID : Spanish unions demanded that a plan to partly privatise the country's shipyards be shelved amid growing unrest which has sparked violence at some yards and prompted wildcat strikes.

SEPI, the Spanish government industrial holding company that owns the docks, met Thursday evening to discuss the future of state shipyard group Azar, which is facing bankruptcy amid EU demands to pay back millions of euros in subsidies which Brussels has dubbed illegal.


A delegation of unions called upon SEPI chairman Enrique Martinez to drop the plan, hold talks and abandon moves to split the civilian and military yards.

The main UGT and CCOO unions said SEPI appeared ready to examine their demands with further meetings likely to follow.

Earlier, tempers had flared once more at yards in the northern Basque region and the southern region of Andalusia following several other clashes across the week which culminated in some workers downing tools.

Strikes are set for September 28 and 30 as the issue comes the boil in what is the first major test of industrial relations for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The Socialist leader, elected in March after eight years of rightwing government, has promised to save the yards and the jobs of those who work there -- but unions fear thousands of job losses.

Workers at the San Fernando site just outside the southern city of Cadiz earlier blocked road and rail traffic, setting up barricades and setting fire to them and forcing long delays to local train services.

SEPI's plans to introduce private finance at civilian yards has sparked fury in a sector which has undergone three restructuring plans in the 1980s which led to the loss of 30,000 jobs.

Izar, which employs 10,700 people, and is exposed to fierce competition from Asia, faces bankruptcy after the European Commission demanded that it repay more than 300 million euros (368.9 million dollars) in aid which Brussels says breached EU competition rules.

On Wednesday, Spain's lower house of parliament voted a motion demanding the withdrawal of a controversial restructuring plan for Izar in what marks the first showdown between unions and the government.

The Socialist Party voted against the motion but does not have an absolute majority of seats in parliament.

also check out the news from past days

and an article in spanish
"Trabajadores de astilleros cortan carreteras en Cádiz, Ferrol, Gijón y Sevilla en la primera jornada de huelga"

also check out two anarcho-syndicalist unions

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class war
24 Sep 2004
class war
Re: spanish workers continue to fight
25 Sep 2004