The UPLBA Andalucía, the union for local police officers and firefighters in Fuengirola have taken over the Plaza de Ayuntamiento on Tuesday (Town Hall Plaza), in a protest over the continued and ongoing cuts to their salaries and benefits.
Signs and banners read "Don't play with security. No more cuts", "On average the political rise of salaries: 64%", "The workers' salaries decrease by 25% on average", and "Politicians in Fuengirola raise their salaries and lower that of the workers."
The workers are angry because their salaries, over the last couple of years, have decreased by on average 25%, and the salaries on the politicians running the town have increased by on average 64%.
Digital Journal spoke to a couple of the men protesting. As sound levels were not good on the camera, and the sound of whistles and hooters was increasingly loud, this is unfortunately not included in the video, but a transcript is as follows:
We are the local police, firefighters and other workers, we are angry because there is no money to pay the workers, but the politicians, they have money for a good salary. This is the problem we have.
They pay us, every month, but every month a little less. But they are getting the same salary or more.
So much money for building in Fuengirola, [referring to renovations to the bull ring and old town hall, costing millions of euros], but at the same time, less for us every month. At the same time, for them, more. What's happening? Where is the crisis?
So we are very angry.
In other cities, in Mijas for instance, the salaries go up. But in Fuengirola, we get less. So now we say "Stop. No more."
We have so much responsibility, protecting the town, but the salary goes down. In December, the extra salary, not paid. OK. The 5% less of the Zapatero government, OK. But now with the current government our salaries are down 25%.
But the politicians, you can see, their salaries just keep going up, they have 64% more.
There was, at the time of reporting, no reaction from the Mayoress, Esperanza Oña and the entry doors to the town hall were well guarded by local police (who were not part of the protest).
There is some irony to this protest. The police officer pictured below, lighting paint bombs, attempted to take away this reporter's camera on June 3rd, 2011
during a 15m protest in another plaza in Fuengirola. He remembered, and smiled... this time the presence of the camera was just fine.