Friday, 1 October 2010

Puny Anti-Cuts Protests in UK: Jonnie come lately in Spain

JUDGING by the anti-cuts protest outside Salford Town Hall on Wednesday the British working class, even in the public sector, are not angry enough about the Coalition Government's threats of cuts in the public sector - yet. Even the well known local trade union leader, Alex McFadden, didn't turn up: according to the rumours he was off networking with the Council to get another grant for the Salford Unemployed Centre in Eccles.

In Europe, the Spaniards led the field with a nationwide general strike. The trade unions estimated about 70% participation in the strike. Workers in Spain's heavy industry backed the strike lowering industrial power usage to 20% of normal. Valencia and some other main ports were shut, but the transport network, including the Madrid subway, were unaffected by the strike.

In Madrid the big shops stayed open with one fishmonger saying: 'This is a pantomime staged by union leaders to show that they still can play a role' and he added, 'If they had really meant to intervene, they would have done something when the economy started to collapse, rather than keeping their mouths shut until it's too late.'

Sandalio Gómez, a labour relations pundit, said: that few Spaniards understood 'why a strike is now being held 3 months after the labour market reform was actually approved', and he claimed 'The unions still have an important role but they have become far too institutionalised, reliant on government subsidies rather than membership fees - and that has left their leaders out of touch with the reality of workers' lives' and this had reduced their credibility. The International Herald Tribune suggested that these protests, unlike the ones in Greece in May, had been less traumatic for the European governments.

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