Extremely serious attack on trade union rights in Asturias, Spain
Two trade union leaders from Naval Gijon shipyards sentenced to three years in jail
Juan Manuel Martínez Morala and Candido González Carnero are the current and former general secretaries of the Left-wing Trade Union Current (CSI) in Asturias, Spain. Both are members of the Shop Stewards Committee of the Naval Gijón shipyard, which has been in crisis for many years and subject to constant lay offs of workers. Throughout their whole history in the trade union movement they have been outstanding in their refusal to accept any redundancies and in defending the viability of the shipyard. After the last round of mobilisation in defence of jobs, they were accused of having broken a traffic security camera located near the company's installations and were sentenced to three years of jail, after a trial in which they were left completely defenceless. The only proof against them was the contradictory statements of police agents. The judge refused to allow the screening of a police videotape which shows the breaking of said security camera and conclusively proves that they are both innocent. Despite all this, on Saturday, June 16, they were both arrested in the street and taken to the Villabona jail in application of the sentence.
Throughout the legal process a series of demonstrations and protest actions have been organized against this attack on democratic and trade union rights. The sentence against Morala and Carnero is an attack on the labour movement as a whole, with the clear aim of criminalizing and de-legitimising the struggle of workers, and to increase repression. This attack has been carried out with the complicity of the regional government in Asturias and the local council of Gijón (which presented the case against them), with the aggravating factor that both are ruled by a coalition composed of the United Left and the Socialist Party.
It is urgent that this situation be exposed and denounced as widely as possible, particularly in the trade union movement, and to put pressure on the judicial system and on the government, demanding their immediate release. The Left-wing Trade Union Current is a point of reference for honest and militant trade unionism for wide layers of workers and youth in Asturias. The organisation was key in the struggle to defend Naval Gijon and became a symbol of working class resistance. In fact, the first demonstration in solidarity with the comrades had a historically high attendance with 15,000 workers present in Gijon.
Despite all this, they have not hesitated in putting them in jail, because, in the last instance, we must insist, these sentences are an attempt to weaken the ability of workers to respond to attacks on jobs and conditions.
Faced with this situation we make an appeal for solidarity to all left-wing political and trade union organisations, shop stewards committees, trade union branches and workers in general , to stop this attack and prevent what would be a dangerous precedent for future struggles.
We ask you to send urgent protest resolutions (see model below) demanding their immediate release.
El Militante, June 18, 2007
For the immediate release of Candido and Morala!
No more repression against the working class!
Having learnt of the arrest and jailing last Saturday, June 16, of the trade union leaders Candido Gonzáles Carnero and Juan Manuel Martínez Morala, and the 3-year jail sentence for the accusation of having broken a traffic security camera during a demonstration of the workers of the Naval Gijon shipyard we want to state the following:
1.- We consider the jailing of the two comrades as an attack on the labour movement as a whole and an attempt to silence the struggle in defence of our jobs and conditions.
2.- We denounce the situation of defencelessness they suffered during the trial, in which they were sentenced with the only "proof" being the contradictory statements of police agents, despite the fact that there were many witnesses and material evidence of their innocence (such as a police video which proves they were not involved and which the judge refused to admit as a proof during the trial).
3.- We reject the criminalisation of the struggle of the workers and the attempt to present as criminals two trade unionists with a long and well-known record of commitment to the interest of the workers, whose only crime is to have fought for the defence of jobs.
4.- That it is not acceptable that this is happening while the Socialist Party and United Left are in a coalition government in the Gijon council and in Asturias, and the Socialist Party is in the government in Spain.
5.- For all these reasons, we consider that both comrades are victims of political persecution and therefore we consider them to be political prisoners.
6.- Because of all the above, we demand the immediate release of both trade unionists and the immediate removal of the delegate of the Government in Asturias, Antonio Trevin, for his responsibility in this matter.
(Organisation and position)
To be sent to
Delegación del gobierno en Asturias: fax 985 256 564
See also in Spanish