Spain Stop criminalising strikers, say unions

Guardian (UK) |

Spain's unions have launched a campaign against what they say is the increasing criminalisation of strikes. At least 260 workers across Spain face penalties of up to three years in jail over their participation in industrial action, said Candido Mendez of the UGT general workers' union. Others may be fined. The cases follow a legal change that made it cheaper and easier to lay off people, cut wages and change conditions. "It's creating a dynamic in which the clear aim is to discourage workers from mobilising," Mendez said. Prosecutors are exploiting an obscure article in the criminal code meant to prevent workers being pressured into striking, said Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, of the Workers' Commission union. He said it was being used to justify fines and jail terms for strikers, adding: "They're trying to make examples of a few, instil fear and discourage people from participating in mobilisations and strikes." As part of the campaign, rallies will be held next week. Ashifa Kassam Madrid

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