By James Bryce
DEMONSTRATORS have clashed with police in Malaga, as Spain’s general strike gets underway.
Riot police were forced to escort vehicles at the city’s main food warehouse, MercaMalaga, as union members picketed outside the entrance.
There have been similar scenes in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, with reports suggesting 58 arrests had been made and several policemen injured, as of 8.30am this morning.
The country’s transport network has also been thrown into chaos with a number of airlines announcing flight cancellations.
Spanish airline Iberia says it has cancelled more than 400 flights, while easyJet has grounded 28 flights and a further 44 Ryanair flights have been cancelled.
Public transport is also severely restricted although skeleton services remain in place, with 25 per cent of buses and a third of train services expected to operate today.
Despite the action, there was little evidence of major disruption at Malaga Airport this morning, with many flights appearing to be leaving on schedule.
“There are a few delays on the check-in desks because of staff not turning up for work, and all the coffee shops are closed, but otherwise things appear to be moving fairly smoothly,” said Olive Press web manager and photographer Karl Smallman.
In Barcelona, around two hundred university students marched down one of the city’s main roads in a largely peaceful protest, adding to the transport problems.
But dramatic scenes emerged elsewhere in the city, with rubbish bins being set alight and a fire being started outside the Barcelona Stock Exchange.
Trade unions claimed that 85 per cent of workers in the food sector were taking part and that the general strike had ‘practically paralysed’ factories during the night shift.
The unions called a general strike ahead of Friday’s budget announcement, in protest against labour law reforms and austerity measures being introduced by the government.
The reforms will make it easier for firms to lay-off workers, cut their wages, or change their working conditions, if they can claim they need to boost their productivity.
“The people will say whether they are resigned to accepting the reforms,” said Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, head of Spanish union, CCOO.
Unemployment broke through the five million mark in January, putting the jobless rate at almost 23 per cent, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy set to announce up to 40 billion euros of spending cuts and taxes.
Finance minister Cristobal Montoro, said: “The question here is not whether the strike is honoured by many or few but rather whether we get out of the crisis.”
What strike? I’m working. Looks like another excuse for a day off to me. Anyway, they should have held the strike tomorrow, on Friday, then they could “puente” it over the weekend lol.
who says the puente isnt happening anyway ?
thurday is not so far from friday ?
In Spain it’s one big holiday lol.
Benalmadena had one coffee shop closed.
In Fuengirola the town is almost normal with 90% of buisnesses open. My neighbour had family arriving at Malaga airport today and they were stuck for 45mins at passport control as there was no one there. They finally got through to find no trollies, had to wait another hour for their bags, then hardly any taxis and the train not working, what a great advert for Spain.
Thank goodness the days of Unions are coming to an end, membership in UK is falling dramatically and hopefully in a few years will be non existant, people are beginning to see what really matters, did yesterdays strike prove anything positive ????? NO
aye gary, cos you know, it was those nasty union members that stole millions from pensioners and set up hedge funds and had to be rescued by the taxpayers and who then gave themselves millions in bonus’ despite performing badly…OH NO IT WASN”T THE UNIONS – IT WAS THE SUPER SMART BANKERS AND THE SUPER RICH AND THE CORRUPT POLITICIANS IN THE UK THAT DID IT!!!
thankfully for the future gary, the mass of people ARE indeed starting to see what really matters and whats really been happening – your neo lib views are dated and now seen for what they are – the ideology of the greedy and venal.
there is enough for all to share rather than for the workers to suffer because of the greed of just a small minority who want it all.
the great quote is “they privatised the profits when the going was good, the nationalised the losses when they screwed it up for everybody else”.
no arguments, the multi nat corporations lined their own pockets for years and years – and look where it has left the world – poorer by far apart from the less than 1%.
that fools still believe in that bankrupt philosophy is testimony to lure of dumb ass smart cars and the rest of the baubles that ‘we’ are told that ‘we’ can have…aye right.
the unions, organised labour, collectivization is on the way back gary – and the reason is that your lot have robbed the world blind for generations… and now everybody can see that.
thank you Pat D for telling the truth its quite refreshing to read intelligent well articulated comments that knock the idiotic posts by Mark and Gary into a cocked hat
the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few .
My support, too, for Pat D´s comments. I´m appalled at the “I´m alright Jack” philosophy of the Marks and Gary´s of this world. They make me thoroughly ashamed of the ex-pats over here in a country on its knees! So the poor neighbours couldn´t find a trolley at the airport – if that´s all they have to worry about . . .!
They’re right to strike … who wants companies to be able to give their workers full-time contracts. Keep it the way it is, that’s always work well for Spain and kept unemployment levels so low. NOT.
It seems quite a few on here know very little about the country they live in. I would go on to explain the short comings of the employment system in Spain but I feel it would be lost on those fools who think with their hearts rather than their heads.
ah yr too kind mark, and here’s us all waiting with baited breath for yr pearls of wisdom, please spare us yr supercilious finger wagging.
a word for all the oldies, times have moved on from yr peak days in the 80’s and thatcher union bashing.
there’s now a whole new movement amongst a younger generation of people, it isn’t affiliated to any particular political party and isn’t hidebound by the dumb thinking that has got the world in the state that it is in right now.
what this discursive movement does recognise is that the system that you oldies are welded to is one that is redundant, failed, finished.
the bankers, the politicians the multi nats have soaked up all the profits through a largely corrupt and venal system parading as market led democracy – ha, what piffle!
so, yes, those that caused all the problems have indeed been given the job of recovering the mess they made – hence the poor, the workers paying for the mess that the rich created… well my oldie friends, times are a changing – the mass of people, bit by bit, are reclaiming the ground, more and more people are seeing how it really is – there will be a role for the unions, the collectives and the students and the poor… and a fairer, more equitable world will emerge from this.
meanwhile, the little englanders can sip their cocktails in the sun, blithely moaning about immigrants and tax avoiders whilst occupying foreign land and tax avoiding themselves – ha, bless the daily mail, the rag of the deluded and demented expat empire oldies!
Pat, Jon Clarke worked for the Daily Mail. Are you saying the Olive Press editor is deluded and demented?
I am not an oldie btw. I’m a youngie.
it’s simple, and it’s there for all to see – those who have had the power for all these years have only helped themselves to the filthy lucre whilst simultaneously ruining the planet and doing little or nothing for the majority of people…
it is time for change and many many people agree… the corrupt and the cheating hegemony has been found out.
fred, as for the d mail, they are sharp operators, no question – they, the daily mail, know their target audience and play to that prejudice and narrow little englander mind set… and they do it very well… but it’s that very same target group that i refer to.
i have been living in Spain for 10 years this month. I have a buisness here (my second) where i deal with 95% Spanish trade, i have 5 spanish working for me who all have correct contracts, i pay the correct tax, i brought a house off a Spanish company, live in a Spanish area, my kids go to a Spanish school, i speak Spanish and only have spanish friends. Maybe i am in your eyes a typical little englander but i feel i am quite qualified to comment on Spanish life as i live amoungst it. Spain has too many problems to go into but a lot are down to their own mis-management and the attitude of the people. Spain needs a major change in the way it thinks if it is to change but people round where i am from will never change as they are set in their ways. Spain has an excuse culture where it is never their fault and people tend to wait for solutions rather than trying to advance using their own free will. I am judging Spain on the South where i live which of course isnt fair, but IMO (humble) if the people in Malaga put the same amount of effort into ordering a coffee into their day to day lifes the South would be like Japan.