Nine hurt in clashes between strikers and police

13th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 September 2004, CADIZ - Seven striking shipbuilders and two police officers were injured in clashes Tuesday.

14 September 2004

CADIZ - Seven striking shipbuilders and two police officers were injured in clashes Tuesday.

The strikers and police were hurt during protestors blocked Cadiz, the port in southern Spain, from 8am to around midday Tuesday.

Strike action continued across other parts of Spain without incident.

Workers from threatened shipbuilding company Izar were protesting at a plan to rescue the company, which workers claim could threaten their jobs.

Two police officers who were injured were taken to hospital after being hit by steel catapult balls which strikers shot at the ranks of police.

Seven strikers were hurt when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to try to break up the protestors.

Izar workers are fighting plans to partially privatise the industry.

The clashes Tuesday follow similar scenes Monday when strikers erected barricades in Cadiz and started setting fire to tyres.

The incidents followed similar protests Thursday and Friday last week.

"The government should say whether it has an industrial plan," said Francisco Fernandez Lucas, chairman of the works council at the San Fernando dockyard just outside Cadiz.

He called on the Socialist government which took office in April to "stop making promises which are then not respected."

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Sunday announced he was drawing up an "industrial viability plan" with a view to "saving" Izar.

He promised unions would be consulted and "no worker will be abandoned to his fate".

Zapatero told Cadena Ser radio Monday that the situation was "enormously complex because the former administration cheated," a reference to the former rightwing government awarding Izar aid which the European Commission has declared illegal.

The Izar group, which employs 10,700 people, has been in crisis since European Union authorities demanded in May that it repay EUR 300 million (USD 362 million) of EU aid which Brussels regards as breaching competition rules.

The European Commission may further demand that Izar reimburse more than EUR 600 million of additional aid, according to SEPI, the Spanish government industrial holding society which owns the country's 10 publicly owned docks.

A commission spokesman in Brussels said that the panel and Spanish authorities were negotiating a timetable for the repayment that would not threaten the survival of the company.

"It is not the intention of the commission to jeopardise Spanish shipyards," spokesman Tilman Lueder said.

According to SEPI, military docks, which have more orders than their civilian counterparts, will be maintained under the umbrella of a public company and continue to receive public subsidies while private funding is to be injected into some of the civilian sites.

The sector is struggling in Spain in the face of tight competition from Asia.
[Copyright  EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news


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