In a ruling on 16 February, a Spanish court acquitted the eight Airbus workers facing prison terms of eight years and three months each for having participated in a peaceful strike in 2010.
The eight trade unionists, members of IndustriALL Global Union affiliates, CC.OO de Industria and MCA-UGT, were charged after joining hundreds of workers in a general strike in September 2010, against austerity measures and changes to the Spanish labour code.
The eight men have consistently denied the charges of ‘acting with violence’ and ‘attacking the right to work’, and after the trial concluded on 12 February the Court acquitted the Airbus 8.
“Today is a great day for democracy,” said José Alcazar, president of the Airbus works council and one of the trade unionists charged. “This is important not only for the eight but for the whole labour movement in our country.”
The eight workers, Tomás García, Enrique Gil, Rodolfo Malo, José Alcazar, Raúl Fernández, Armando Barco, Jerónimo Martín and Edgar Martín, had been charged under Article 315.3 of the Spanish Penal Code, which allows for prison sentences for picketing trade unionists.
The law dates back to the Franco regime and has been labeled an attack on trade unions and the right to strike by the union movement.
Trade unions in Spain have protested vehemently against the charges, supported by the international labour movement. On 9 February, thousands of people including representatives of IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe marched on the streets of Madrid to protest against the trial.
“This is a victory for the Spanish unions and for the workers who were exercising their fundamental rights,” says Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary. “But we continue to support our affiliates in their demands to drop charges in other similar cases and to repeal Article 315.3, which criminalizes the right to strike.”