4,000 protest against public services cuts

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AROUND 4,000 people took to Palma de Mallorca streets to protest about the government’s new labour reforms and spending cuts in public services.

This was just one of many ‘Labour Day’ protests in 80 Spanish cities in which an estimated one million people participated.

Unions CCOO, UGT and Stei-I organized the protest under the banner ‘Work, Dignity, Rights’.

The demonstrations come as Spain falls back into recession with unemployment at an all-time high and a record number of households where everyone of working age is on the dole.

These protests are set against the backdrop of recent drastic cuts in basic services like healthcare and education as well as the labour reform bill which makes it easier for employers to lay-off staff as well as tax increases planned for 2013.

In the Balearics, the Joan March Hospital in Bunyola and Palma’s General Hospital are to be closed to save nearly €68.6 million, part of the total planned cuts to save €347.9 million. Part of Son Espases Hospital is to be rented out to private doctors or companies.

The march in Mallorca started from the town hall and passed through various streets and plazas, for Labour Day (Tuesday).

Amidst the crowd were various politicians including socialists Biel Barcelo, Antoni Verger, Francina Armengol and Silvia Cano.

“We have more reason than ever to call this protest,” said UGT secretary general Lorenzo Bravo.

He called Balearic President Jose Ramon Bauza “useless, overbearing and cocky” and accused his government of “turning their back on society” and “robbing” them. CCOO leader Katiana Vicens said “we can now say the government is carrying out state terrorism” by “attacking” the norms and laws.

Meanwhile, the Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions (CNT), which is affiliated with the International Workers Association), organized an alternative parallel protest from Plaza España to Ses Voltes.

They too were protesting against ‘labour reforms and the attacks on public services’.

By Nicole Hallett

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