Miners strike is called off after deal is reached

7th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2005, MADRID — The Spanish government and unions reached an initial agreement to avert a national miners strike.

7 November 2005

MADRID — The Spanish government and unions reached an initial agreement to avert a national miners strike.

The deal will allow miners to take early retirement at up to 52 years old, a principal point of contention.

The government has also agreed to create 1,700 new jobs and relocate 520 workers to new jobs. Each year the industry will produce 9 million tonnes of coal.

Unions called off the strike and six miners who locked themselves in a mine in northern Spain have stopped their protest.

José Montilla, industry minister, and the heads of the two main unions, the CCOO and  UGT, started talks at 9am on Monday.

Union sources had said they were hopeful of reaching a deal.

Earlier, miners in Madrid had called for an indefinite national strike.

And in Leon, northern Spain, six miners were locked inside a mine shaft 300 metres (980 feet) deep in the town of Torre del Bierzo in Leon province, in protest against the government's plans for the coal industry.

Other protesters have been blocking some of the northern region of Asturias' principal roads.

The General Workers' Union (UGT), linked to the Socialist Party, and the CCOO had asked the government to spend money on the areas where coal is actually mined as opposed to where it is processed, as the administration is proposing.

They also demanded the government retain current retirement rules, which allow many workers to retire at 40, rather than at 45, as the government wanted.

The concession on retirement represents a partial victory for the government.

Failing to achieve compromise on the so-called "Coal Plan" that would be in effect from 2006 to 2012, miners launched a 48-hour strike on Thursday that they later extended.

The strike involved some 9,000 miners and 1,600 ancillary personnel in Asturias, Castile-and-Leon and five other regions.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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