Labour Research (February 2016)

European news

Anger over prosecutions

The two main Spanish union confederations, CCOO and UGT have organised a series of protest actions against the state’s prosecution of eight union members for their participation in the general strike of 29 September 2010. 

The eight — seven of them members of CCOO and one a UGT member — are all employed by the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. 

Under legislation dating back to the period of the Franco dictatorship, they are accused, among other things, of having coerced other workers into strike action. They each face up to eight years and three months in prison on the charges, which are to be heard on 9 February. 

The unions describe the prosecution as an attempt to “criminalise the right to strike” and have promised that the protests will continue.

Meanwhile, in France, a court has sentenced eight former employees of the Goodyear tyre plant in Amiens to a 24-month sentence, including a nine-month mandatory period. A prison sentence of this severity is unprecedented in France. 

The decision has been condemned by Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the CGT, one of France’s two biggest union confederations.

The group includes the former CGT representative at the plant. The eight were convicted of holding two senior managers hostage for 30 hours in January 2014 as part of a protest against the closure of the factory. 

Martinez said that “over and above the workers at Amiens, the whole trade union movement is being attacked”.

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