Strikers take to streets again

30th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 September 2004, MADRID - Striking shipbuilders took to the streets across Spain Thursday in the third day of protests at a government plan to rescue the company.

30 September 2004

MADRID - Striking shipbuilders took to the streets across Spain Thursday in the third day of protests at a government plan to rescue the company.

In Ferrol, in north-west Spain, Gijon in the north and Sestao in the Basque Country, they erected barricades and set fire to cars.

These were the most dramatic scenes on the third day of planned stoppages by workers from Izar, the state-owned shipbuilding company.

In other areas, strikers blocked roads, but there was no repeat of the violent clashes with police, which have happened in recent weeks.

The violent dispute has seen at least 30 injured in clashes between police and the strikers.

The Izar workers have used catapult to shoot metal pellets at riot police, while officers have replied with tear gas.

Unions representing the troubled shipbuilding giant have rejected a government rescue plan.

The strike is being seen as the first real test of new Socialist prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The government has offered to privatise Izar, selling off the civil side of the company in one block in an effort to save jobs.

Unions at Izar, which employs 10,700 people on 10 sites, had announced plans to down tools on 28 and 30 September across Spain, following the failure of talks with Izar owners, the state-run SEPI.

SEPI wants to separate the military operation, the most profitable side of the business, from the civil side, which would be partly sold off.

Izar has been in crisis since the EU demanded in May that it repay EUR 300 million of EU aid that Brussels says breached competition rules. And the European Commission may also demand Izar repay more than EUR 600 million of additional aid, according to SEPI.

Izar is struggling because of tough competition from Asia.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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