Spaniards hold general strike against austerity

November 14, 2012

Business, International

Spaniards hold general strike against austerity

Protestors clash with police at a Bank of Spain branch during a 24-hour nationwide general strike in central Valencia November 14, 2012

 

Xinhua

MADRID– Spanish workers staged on Wednesday a second general strike this year to protest harsh austerity measures and economic reforms prescribed by the government led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. By 10:30 a.m. local time (GMT 0930), labor unions declared the nationwide stoppage was being heeded by 80 percent of people across the country.

Early figures showed that electricity consumption, an indicator of industrial production, fell by 15.5 percent in the first eight hours of the strike, which began at midnight. Transport has been affected across the country, with the Madrid metro running at 30-percent capacity.

The strike has been participated by almost all workers at Spanish national airline Iberia, where cutbacks of 4,500 jobs were announced last week. The airline had cancelled 171 flights scheduled for Wednesday. Flights of other airlines have also been affected. By 8:30 a.m. (GMT 0730), eight flights out of the scheduled 28 had been postponed from Madrid’s Barajas airport. The reductions in public transport services caused longer traffic jams in Madrid and other cities, such as Bilbao, where there were 2-km tailbacks waiting to enter the city.

National and regional television stations have also been affected, but the main stores in the center of Madrid opened as usual on Wednesday morning, thanks to a heavy police presence. According to local media, 57 people have been arrested by police and 14 were injured in the opening hours of the strike. The day will end with demonstrations in the center of most Spanish cities.

Over 100,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Madrid at 18:30 local time (GMT 1730). Similar strikes and protests are being held in countries including Greece, Portugal, France, Belgium and Italy.

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Associated Press

The 17 countries that use the euro are expected to fall into recession when official figures are released Thursday. Meanwhile, unemployment across the eurozone has reached a record 11.6 percent with countries like Spain and Greece hitting the 25 percent mark.

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Spain

Population: 47,042,984 (July 2012 est.)

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