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article image1000's of Spaniards strike today against labour reforms (updated)

By Anne Sewell     Mar 29, 2012 in World
Tens of thousands of Spaniards are taking to the streets yet again, this time against the labour laws in the country. A general strike was called for March 29, 2012.
Seen as the first test for the new prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, who has been in power for 3 months, strikers and protesters are demanding changes to the labour laws of the country. They are against the labour reforms that have been implemented in Spain.
On 29 March 2012, they have taken to the streets countrywide.
The strike is against labour reform and is also protesting social cuts and austerity measures. The protesters are striking to defend the schools and hospitals, because they do not want to "mortgage" their future.
Strikers want to defend the society of Spain against the crisis - they say they are not "merchandise into the hands of politicians and bankers."
With unemployment at over 23%, and almost half of the youth unemployed, the people have had enough and are making a stand.
29 March 2012 protest in Seville  Spain
29 March 2012 protest in Seville, Spain
The people are not part of collective negotiations in regard to labour laws, and have less rights, protections and recognition than ever before.
Labour laws are strict. An example in the video above is of a lady who starts a small business. She then wants her husband to help her with the business for a couple of hours each day.
To be able to do this, she would then have to put him on the payroll, pay social security and taxes for this privilege, which is not affordable in the current crisis.
Protesters in Madrid  Spain - 29 March 2012
Protesters in Madrid, Spain - 29 March 2012
Toma La Huelga
The system is inflexible and is damning the hopes of entrepreneurs wishing to start small businesses, an essential priority when so few jobs are available, as the job market flounders.
The reforms also make it easier and cheaper for employers to fire their employees, which has always been an expensive prospect in the past.
The Spanish people are concerned that Spain could soon go the way of Greece, and are doing their utmost to stop this.
Workers across Europe protest against government austerity policies
Workers across Europe protest against government austerity policies
Alvaro Minguito
In later news, 58 people have been arrested and 9 have been injured in the protests.
The 24-hour general strike, which began before dawn on 29 March 2012 involved sporadic clashes with the police. Most of the arrests happened in the early hours of the morning, when protesters attempted to stop night-shift workers from going to their jobs.
As they attempted to stop people from going to work, demonstrators burned tyres, mattresses and other debris, as can be seen in the above video.
Protesters in Madrid  Spain on 29 March 2012
Protesters in Madrid, Spain on 29 March 2012
Alvaro Minguito
Due to the strike several local TV stations have gone off air, hundreds of flights have been cancelled and a number of factories closed down for the day, including the Seat and Nissan car manufacturing facilities in Catalunya.
At least a third of the public transport has been halted and hospitals are currently providing only minimal care, due to lack of available staff.
As people leave work this evening, the numbers are likely to swell among the protesters and unions are claiming that over 250,000 will be involved in the demonstrations held in more than 100 cities and towns all over Spain.
The theme of the protests is: "They want to end labor and social rights and finish off everything".
The leader of the CCOO, 1 or 2 main Spanish trade unions has said: "This is a just response to a brutal reform of our system of labor relations."
Live streaming of the protests is available on this website.
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