Canarian unions call general strike on 14 Nov

Update 15 November: Although supported massively on the mainland, and although gaining considerable support in some quarters in the Canaries, generally yesterday passed without the strike causing great disruption.What was a great success, however, was a march by the public through Santa Cruz last evening. Some 100,000 poured into the streets of the capital carrying banners protesting at the social effect of cuts, and saying that the Canaries cannot tolerate any more.

Government sources said that the march was quiet and that only some 50,000 turned out: those wouldn’t have been bad numbers anyway, but the photos I’ve seen of the event suggest that the turnout was nearer to unofficial than official numbers. In Gran Canaria too, there were protests throughout Las Palmas, with similar numbers, and similar official figures from the Government. Thankfully it all passed off peacefully: these people were protesting for their lives and livelihood, and had no intention of making the march, or allowing it to become, violent.

Update 14 November: The general strike has begun without much disruption, with agreed minimum services being provided to mitigate the high following of the strike by transport workers. In Santa Cruz, pickets have cut off Avenida Manuel Hermoso at the Cepsa refinery. Throughout Spain some 700 flights have been cancelled by various airlines operating in Spain, but while Madrid’s Barajas airport has come to a complete standstill, Canarian airports are reported to be operating with complete normality. No doubt throughout the day there will be updates from the strike.

Update 13 November: Just a reminder that this strike is set for tomorrow, and Union posters have been put up in many places urging workers to comply with the call to stop. Minimum services have been agreed with the Government, indeed, so this is a strike that’s going to go ahead. It’s unclear at the moment how widespread the action will be, and how great the disruption, but it seems sensible to make every effort to avoid running headlong into problems tomorrow.

Update 18 October: This proposed strike now looks like engulfing not only the Canaries, but the whole of Europe. In Spain itself, there is likely to be a general strike, PM Rajoy’s second general strike during his premiership. Decisions by the unions will be confirmed over the next few days.

Original post 12 October: The ten largest unions in the Canaries agreed yesterday to call a general strike in the islands on 14 November. The decision was confirmed by the secretario general de UGT Canarias, Gustavo Santana, who said that a specifically Canarian strike was chosen “because of the absolute responsibility of the regional Government for its poor economic and political performance over the last few years”. St Santana stressed that cuts in the Canaries have been primarily in education, health and social services, and that there was an extremely erratic  policy as far as employment was concerned too, not least to combat the black market economy and fiscal fraud. He stressed the unity of the unions in calling the strike, and said that further details of more specific actions would follow over the coming week or so.

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