Traffic police strike as Spain hits Easter roads

21st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 March 2005, MADRID-It should come as a welcome surprise to motorists across Spain as traffic police stage a strike over the Easter Holiday.

21 March 2005

MADRID-It should come as a welcome surprise to motorists across Spain as traffic police stage a strike over the Easter Holiday.

The Guardia Civil traffic police are staging a strike, protesting at pay and conditions.

They are still working but refuse to impose as many traffic penalties as they should during one of the busiest times on the Spanish roads as hundreds of thousands of motorists get away for the Easter break.

Spain still has one of the worst records in Europe for road safety.

According to figures from 2004, from Eurostat, the EC statistics service, among the 25 nations of the EU, Spain came seventh in terms of deaths per million of population.

There were 133 deaths per million. The average was 103.

Sweden and Britain were among the lowest with 59 and 62, respectively. The worst offender, again, was Portugal -with 150 deaths per million.

The traffic police want to force the authorities to reduce the number of fines which they are expected to impose on motorists.

They claim they should be deployed to prevent motorists from breaking the law, rather than simply trying to catch them once they have done this.

Fines should be the ultimate sanction, rather than the first course of action for traffic police, claim Guardia Civil association officers.

Similar action has forced some parts of Spain to cut the number of road traffic fines in the past.

In February, after a similar 'hidden strike' in Valencia, road fines were cut from 200, in comparison with 1,300 the year before.

Guardia Civil officers also want to distance themselves from their paramilitary past and raise the salaries, which on average are EUR 600 per month.

They are to stage a number of mass rallies around the country to try to pressurise the government into improving their conditions as they claim moral is low.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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