Spanish union calls strike on day of pope's visit
A Spanish public transport union announced Wednesday a one-day strike to coincide with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Barcelona next month to protest public spending on the trip.
The pope is to visit the city, capital of the northeastern region of Catalonia, on November 7 to consecrate the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral, a world heritage site.
The public transport section of the CGT union said it "is calling a strike against the spending of public money during the visit of the pope."
This money should instead fund free public transport for the Catalan unemployed, it said in a statement.
The 24-hour strike was called for November 7, the same day of the pope's visit.
The union was reacting to Spanish media reports that said the national government would have to pay 14.5 million euros (20 million dollars) to meet costs linked to the trip and the Catalonia government two million euros.
Barcelona Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach has said however the pope's trip to the city would cost the Church between 500,000 and 600,000 euros, some of which had already been raised through donations.
The estimate did not include expenses for security and the media centre which will be covered by the Spanish government, he said earlier this month.
The pope will visit the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela on November 6, a day before he celebrates mass in Barcelona.
© 2010 AFP