Lights in the dark: CNT and CGT members on indefinite strike against redundancies in Catalunya

Striking workers and their families block a road in Granollers

Members of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT union and CGT union have gone on indefinite strike and occupied their workplace at the IMESAPI lighting plant in Granollers, Catalunya, Spain, demanding an end to the redundancy plans which would see four of the 21 workers let go.

The workers – now 23 days into their strike – are responsible for maintaining the street lights throughout the small Catalan town, and therefore are of critical importance to the town council. IMESAPI itself is a part of the huge ACS conglomerate owned by Florentino Pérez, the multibillionaire engineering tycoon known internationally as the owner of Real Madrid FC.

Crucially, all of the workers at the Granollers plant belong to either the CNT or CGT unions, who have vowed to back the strike as long as it continues, unlike the mainstream Comisiones Obreras union,who signed off on similar redundancy packages at IMESAPI plants in Barcelona (which saw a failed strike) and Tenerife.

Despite now finding themselves alone in their struggle, the IMESAPI strikers have been industrious: holding twice-weekly family demonstrations marching through the town to the town hall. The strikers' march through the town centre on 22 December was a cold bucket of water for shoppers on possibly the most important commercial day of the year. As their children - at the demonstration's head with a banner that said: “FLORENTINO PEREZ, WHAT ABOUT OUR TOYS?” - filed past over the umpteen Nativity scenes and kitsch Christmas decorations, one could sense an evident contrast between the absurd myth of Christmas plenitude perpetuated by town councils and retail, and the real sense of festive lack being endured by many in crisis-hit Spain.

Indeed, workers on the demonstration spoke of a lean Christmas, while many were worrying about their next mortgage payment. A further blow has been the cynicism of IMEPASI, who still haven't paid their workers their annual Christmas bonus, despite repeatedly promising to do so. They have also refused to open their books to the unions, who suspect financial irregularities on the part of their employers and claim that the new redundancy measures would make the remaining workers' jobs impossible.

The strike and occupation continues and you can keep track of it on Facebook (in Catalan/Spanish): http://www.facebook.com/ImesapiGranollersEnHuelga

Posted By

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 27 2012 19:54

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  • Crucially, all of the workers at the Granollers plant belong to either the CNT or CGT unions, who have vowed to back the strike as long as it continues, unlike the mainstream Comisiones Obreras union,who signed off on similar redundancy packages

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Comments

redsdisease
Dec 27 2012 22:09

Here's a video from the Dec. 22 demo that's mentioned in the blog:

And a slideshow which shows some pictures of (what I think is) the occupation and some of their other demos.

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 27 2012 22:43

Yep that's the occupation. Longterm Libcommers should fast forward to approx 20:30 of the first video... wink

Harrison
Dec 28 2012 02:39

The CNT flag wielding kid creating havok at 9:00 and 10:10, will definitely grow up to be a quality anarchy !

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 28 2012 12:17

Hi everyone, just been sent the IBAN for international donations to the strike fund. Please give what you can! It's IBAN / BIC: ES17 2100 0330 9201 0164 0016 / CAIXESBBXXX

Additionally, the strikers are requesting pickets outside ACS interests in the UK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grupo_ACS One suggestion was to leaflet Real Madrid fans when they come to Old Trafford for the Champions League, but that's not till 5 March!

Caiman del Barrio
Jan 7 2013 17:02

UPDATE: it's still on, although it looks like the Town Council is now prepared to negotiate.

Here's a link to the Strike Support Committee blog. Catalan/Spanish speakers can listen to an interview with a striker from the CNT: http://www.imesapienlluita.blogspot.com.es/2013/01/070113-ultima-hora-sobre-la-vaga.html

They still want donations to the international bank account in my above post. Trying to organise a picket too.

plasmatelly
Jan 7 2013 19:51

From today's protest and pinched from the strikers fb page -
http://www.facebook.com/ImesapiGranollersEnHuelga

Rob Ray
Jan 11 2013 15:37

@Freedom_Paper:

CNT & CGT in #Spain show how it's done by winning an indefinite #strike at electrics firm Imesapi after 36 days! http://ow.ly/gJsDM (Jan9)