Spain experienced its first general strike on Thursday since Mariano Rajoy won
the general election on Nov. 20.
The country’s labor unions called the strike in protest at the labor reforms
introduced by Rajoy’s government in February and also at the wide-ranging
spending cuts implemented by the new prime minister to reduce Spain’s
The unions argue that the labor reforms will make it easier for companies to
sack workers, instead of intending to create employment as Rajoy and his
ministers insist, given that the reform has slashed the compensation a company
has to pay for laying off members of the workforce.
The government reacted to the strike, which the unions say was followed by 77
percent of the workforce, by insisting there will be no changes to their labor
reforms and by saying the effect of the strike ’has been moderate throughout the
day,’ and added that the economic effect of the strike is less than in other
The strike concentrated in Spain’s industrial sector but was more limited in
the commercial and public sectors and it ended up in demonstrations in the main
The day ended with several people injured and 176 arrests and with the labor
unions UGT and CC.OO highlighting their disagreement with the labor reforms.
Sources from the Ministry of the Interior said that a total of 800,000 people
took part in the demonstrations which closed the day throughout Spain, while the
unions insist that the figure was much higher.
Both the government and the unions have pointed to the intense demand for
electricity throughout the day to back up their version of events.
Electricity use is a vital indicator of economic activity, given that its use
helps illustrate the amount of economic activity being carried out in the
Electricity use on Thursday was on the level with most public holidays in
Spain, although slightly above that seen in the last general strike in September
This Friday will be another important day for the government as it discusses
the budget for 2012. The budget will almost certainly be very austere with Rajoy
proposing that governmental ministries have to face spending cuts of around 15