Spain

On Sunday 23 February, more that 1200 coaches and countless private cars took tens of thousands of Galicians, especially youth, to Madrid to the demonstration called by the Plataforma Nunca Máis. For a period of four hours all the avenues of the centre of Madrid witnessed a human flood of protesters, demanding the resignation of ministers and measures to alleviate the catastrophe of the oil tanker Prestige.

Thousands of students participated yesterday (April 20th) in Spain in a national day of action against the bombing of Yugoslavia. The protest was called by the Students Union (Sindicato de Estudiantes). Thousands of students participated in meetings in the schools to discuss a resolution drafted by the Students Union opposing NATO's intervention against Yugoslavia and proposing a Socialist Federation of the Balkans with full democratic rights for all nationalities as the only way forward for the people of the Balkans.

On Tuesday, November 7, more than 3 million school and university students went out on strike in Spain. The strike also had a 90% following amongst university teachers and non-teaching staff at universities. More than 200,000 students, teachers and university workers participated in demonstrations all over the country with 50.000 in Madrid, 20.000 in Seville, 15.000 in Santiago, 10.000 in Barcelona, 15.000 in Valladolid, 5.000 in Oviedo, 5.000 in the Canary Islands, … with a total of more than 70 demonstrations all over the country.

Millions of Spanish students against the education reforms of the Popular Party 

The PP government is facing a mass students' movement which has the support of the majority of the population. The clearest indication of the importance of this struggle were the editorials of the two main bourgeois papers in Spain on November 15. Both El Pais and El Mundo were warning the government of the danger of the situation and asking them to negotiate. However, President Aznar and the leaders of the PP so far have taken the route of prepotence and repression.

Since 1994 and throughout the whole period of the right wing PP government in Spain, the leaders of the two main trade union confederations in Spain, CCOO and UGT, have carried out a policy of agreements and social partnership. In 1996 they agreed to a change in the pension system. The old system was based on taking the average wage for the last eight years worked. With the new system the calculations to work out a worker's pension are based on the last fifteen years [the further back you go the lower the wages and thus the level of pensions goes down]. In 1997 they agreed to a new kind of labour contract which reduced the amount paid in redundancy payment. These policies of the trade

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The high turn out rate of 70.7% in the election in Euskadi (Basque name for the Basque country), 11 points higher than the last regional elections of 1994, and only 0.8% less than the general election of 1996, reflects the enormous interest of the Basque population in finding a solution to their problems, starting with an end to the long nightmare of repression and terrorism with the change in the political situation since the ETA ceasefire.