After 23 days of strike, members of the IndustriALL affiliated unions Federación de Industria CCOO and FITAG-UGT started the miners’ march, leaving the mining region of northern Spain on 22 June and due to arrive in Madrid on 11 July.
The massive march will culminate with demonstrations in front of government offices, demanding a policy change to keep the industry alive in Spain.
Many Spanish mining communities, particularly in the mountainous border region between Asturias and Castile and León will be wiped out if the cuts go through. 8,000 mineworkers will lose their livelihoods and a further 30,000 jobs will be affected indirectly.
The Spanish miners are the first major group of workers in Europe to go on indefinite strike against the neo-liberal austerity measures that are causing so much damage. The right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy is pushing a 64 per cent cut to government mining subsidies, from €703 million to €253 million. This is in breach of a five-year Plan for Coal agreement signed between government and unions last year. The miners’ march is calling for the Rajoy government to return to that agreement.
5,000 people have supported the LabourStart/IndustriALL online campaign and written to the Rajoy government calling for a reversal in the decision to cut government subsidies. Support that campaign here - http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1444.
Along with the strike action and march, FITAG-UGT and Federación de Industria CCOO members are conducting occupations, sit-ins of mines and local government offices, and large-scale pickets of major highways, bringing traffic to a halt.
In a letter to the striking unions FITAG-UGT and Federación de Industria CCOO, IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina stated, “We are invigorated by your strong battle against government cuts that threaten the mining industry in Spain. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in your rightful struggle, and will continue to mobilize IndustriALL affiliates around the world to support you.”
FITAG-UGT and FI-CC.OO. have launched a financial aid campaign for the coal miners to support this historic resistance. Financial assistance is vital because of the health needs of the striking workers, the longevity and scale of the action, and the pressure from police through fines for protest action. Contributions to the solidarity fund can be made through the details below.
ACCOUNT NAME: “SOLIDARIDAD CON LA MINERÍA DEL CARBÓN”
IBAN: ES69 0182 2370 4302 0152 8433