LABOR

Spain’s main labor unions approve general strike for November 14

“There are more than enough reasons for the stoppage,” says UGT

The top committees of Spain’s main unions, CCOO and UGT, on Friday formally approved a general strike for November 14 to protest the government’s austerity drive.

Union representatives will convey the decision to the so-called Social Summit, a platform that groups together more than 150 labor organizations and pressure groups.

“There are more than enough reasons for the stoppage,” said Toni Ferrer, UGT spokesman. Government policies would deepen the recession, he continued, criticizing the avalanche of legislation passed by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy since taking power in December of last year. “They have beaten all records,” he said. “Since Rajoy has been in power 22 decrees have been passed.”

If the strike goes ahead, it will be the first time that Spain has seen two such stoppages in the space of the year. It will also be the first time that the same government has faced two general strikes.

The industrial action will coincide with a general strike in Portugal and with demonstrations and protests called by the European Trade Union Confederation against the austerity drive in Europe. General strikes may also be called for the same day in Cyprus, Malta and Greece.

The strike in Spain will also coincide with the campaigning for regional elections in Catalonia on November 25. Spain’s Congress is due to vote on the draft state budget for next year between November 12 and 15.

“This is a strike against austerity policies that have shown themselves to have failed,” CCOO spokesman Fernando Lezcano said. “They are going for education and health, abandoning young people to their fate,” he added. “Under these conditions what more do we need to wait for? If we have opted for a strike, it’s because there is no other remedy.”