Friday, 28 November 2008

Spanish workers occupy bank

[Contribution by Kees Hudig] - In the city of Granada, Southern Spain, a vehement protest was organised on Wednesday 19 November, which ended in the simultaneous occupation of the offices of a local property developper and the headquarters of the BBVA bank.
The demonstration ‘against unemployment and precarity’ had been organised by the Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores, a small union that was founded in 2007 by people who were dissatisfied with the moderate course of the large unions. Workers of the farm workers’ union SOC joined the protest. Hundreds of activists further blocked roads in the city, while the occupation lasted.
The occupants had formulated a set of demands in response to the Spanish state’s support for banks. Among other things, they demanded a government guarantee that those who lose their job as a result of the crisis receive at least four months’ wages. The government is accused of “stealing from the poor in order to give to the rich”.
The occupation of the OSUNA property developer was no coincidence. Owner Nicolás Osuna is a symbol of the ‘old boys’ who have made a fortune from the construction boom, which is now being hit by the crisis. In addition to the construction company he owns the largest olive plantations in the province and is a member of the executive board of the Bank of Andalusia and is a major shareholder of a couple of other banks. Left-wing union leader Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo called him an ‘economic bandit’.
The Osuna offices were evicted by the police, but occupants joined the occupants of the bank elsewhere in the city. That occupation lasted the entire night and was ended the next day, after an agreement had been reached with the city government to discuss the crisis plans.
Meanwhile, the bank and the streets were covered with stickers and posters calling for an ‘unlimited general strike’.
When the meeting with the city government on 20 November failed to yield concrete promises, a group of protestors went to the Osuna offices once more, but police stopped them.
Originally published on Globalinfo (the original article contains additional links)

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