Aljazeera reports that airline workers in Spain have launched a two week strike to protest planned layoffs. The strike could cost the airline, which is losing money, as much as $134 million. The logical question – the American question – is why would workers strike? Don’t they care about their jobs?
Spanish workers see through the myth of “my job.” They are standing with those who are being laid off and saying, “No more.” American airline workers have suffered greatly over the last three decades as they’ve made concession after concession, lost pensions, and watched management continue to pay itself bonuses. Maybe they should take a lesson from their brothers and sisters in Spain. Solidarity.
Spain’s two biggest unions have called for a general strike this Thursday to protest deep cuts the government is making, big cuts ($40 billion) that will hit working people and the poor hardest. According to Katherine Ainger of the Guardian (via Common Dreams), 30% of working people will be joined on the strike by an “invisible” group of the unemployed, many of whom are younger than 30.
What’s happening in Spain and other European countries should be a wake up to citizens in the U.S. Austerity only benefits bankers and the investment class. The same people who devised schemes to put working people and the middle class deep into debt are now coming after the government’s money, which is our tax money. Rather than taxes going to fund schools and health care, it will be a brighter day for the fat and happy 1%.
Working people need to wake up and stand up. Hopefully, Spain will set a good example this Thursday.
Revolts in the Middle East have been mostly political in nature. Labor unions have been prominent in some countries, such as Egypt. Now Spain is erupting in protests that target political and labor issues. Aljazeera reports that Spaniards, especially young adults, are protesting high unemployment and a political system that favors the needs of bankers over working people (sound familiar?).
Using Twitter to share information and messages of inspiration, young people have protested in more than 50 cities. They gathered in Madrid’s main square despite a government ban. Madison meet Madrid. Maybe something is changing in the world. Maybe the politicians will listen.
Spain now has the highest unemployment in the industrial world, 20%. At the same time, the country is cutting support to the long term unemployed. What we see in our country is really a world problem. Everywhere the solutions seems to be the same: Make working people suffer. Did we cause this financial mess? Did we benefit from it?