THE unions have ‘declared war’ on the mayor of Jerez after she announced 390 employees are to be laid off.
Yesterday over 50 members blockaded the entrance to the city hall, bringing the ayuntamiento to a standstill.
Mayor Maria Jose Garcia took the dramatic step as part of a new ‘adjustment plan’ to ensure the city is eligible for 328 million euros of central government funds.
The money is being made available from the Ministry of Finance to pay outstanding debts to suppliers.
The city – Spain’s second most indebted after Madrid – has already run out of money to pay its municipal employees.
Many have not been paid for nearly four months, because of the city’s stack of unpaid bills.
It is hoped the new measures will save 124m euros by the end of 2013.
However the decision to lay off 300 employees on permanent contracts and 90 employed by municipal companies has been met with outrage.
The former anarchist CGT union – which has the highest representation in the city – has promised a series of demonstrations against the lay offs and has ‘declared war’ on the mayor.
“Garcia is crossing a dangerous line,” said union spokesman Jose Garcia.
Jerez is traditionally one of Spain’s poorest and most divided cities.
In the run up to the civil war in the 1930s, it was a hotbed for anarchism, with the anarchist union CNT having considerable influence.