Miners start latest in a wave of national strikes

3rd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 November 2005, MADRID — Miners have started a two-day national strike over government plans to shake-up the coal industry in Spain.

3 November 2005

MADRID — Miners have started a two-day national strike over government plans to shake-up the coal industry in Spain.

The strike should involve more than 8,000 miners across Spain in the latest national stoppage to hit the country.

Over the past two weeks, fishermen blockaded almost all the country's ports and truckers stopped food supplies from reaching the supermarkets.

Their protests were over what they claimed was lack of government subsidies on fuel.

They claimed their industries were struggling to cope with rising crude oil prices across the world.

Farmers have also threatened to block all the roads if similar  demands for greater government aid are not met by 15 November.

Talks broke down between the government and miners unions on Wednesday.

Union leaders have locked themselves in the offices of the Spanish ministry of industry in protest.

Unions are demanding the government spend money in areas where coal is actually mined instead of those where it is processed, as the administration proposes.

They are also demanding the government retain current retirement rules, which allow many of them to retire at 40, rather than at 45, as the government wants.

More strikes are promised over the so-called "Coal Plan" on 8, 9, 15, 16 and 17 November.

In Asturias, the biggest mining area in Spain, all the pits remained closed.

Some roads were also being blocked by striking miners.

In Oviedo, pickets also closed mines.

Rafael Varea and Víctor Fernández, who head the country's two biggest unions, the CCOO and the UGT, said talks broke down due to the lack of ground given by the government.

But energy minister Antonio Fernández Segura said it was the unions which chose to close talks.

The strike, which is expected to involve up to 8,600 miners, will close pits in Galicia, Aragon, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha and Catalonia as well as Asturias.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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