Record Unemployment Adds Extra Potency to Spain Protests

Spain protests

International Workers’ Day in Spain came the week after the revelation that record numbers of Spaniards are out of work. Some 80 towns and cities in Spain have seen demonstrations, with large protests in Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao.

The unemployment rate has hit 27 percent – 57 percent among young people – 6.2 million in all.

Unusually, the two main Spanish unions CCOO andUGT have joined forces to demand a new deal – in other words, a change of economic policy.

Austerity measures imposed by European institutions, they say, have been a ‘total failure’.

“With six million jobless in this country and the prospect that number’s going to grow, you think we don’t have to take to the streets?” asked one protester in Madrid.

“It’s happening every day, they’re taking everything away from us, in the end we’ll have no rights at all. Everything that’s been fought for 40 years will be taken away in four,” said another.

Last week the government said it had negotiated a two year delay with Brussels to bring the deficit under control, in order to avoid further austerity measures.

Unemployment is not expected to fall below 25 percent before 2016.