In Spain, the motor manufacturing industry has been crippled by a series of strikes and stoppages in support of wage demands.
In Spain, the motor manufacturing industry has been crippled by a series of strikes and stoppages in support of wage demands. But workers in the hotel and catering industry have called a halt to industrial action after their demands for higher salaries were met. Spain's largest car builder, SEAT, is recovering from a three-day strike by workers which ended on Friday (19 January), but demands for higher wages have spread to other car plants throughout the COUNTRY.
SYNOPSIS: At the Chrysler car plant at Villaverde, south of Madrid, fourteen thousand workers went on strike on Monday (15 January). Union officials said the walk-out would last indefinitely and, by Friday, the plant was still at a standstill.
Chrysler workers have rejected a management offer of a fourteen percent salary increase -- the highest the company can offer legally under Spanish regulations.
In Madrid itself, hundreds of bars, restaurants and cafes were closed when sixty thousand workers went on strike. The streets of the capital were almost deserted on Wednesday (17 January). Police said the shutdown of many nocturnal haunts resulted in a night without car accidents -- the first time this has happened in living memory. But the strike had less memorable effects of Madrid's Barajas Airport, where thousands of businessmen and tourists suffered because of the closure of eating and drinking facilities.
Cleaning staff also left their jobs, and the result was unhygienic chaos on the floors of restaurants and public toilets.
The Spanish Government has limited wage rises this year to an average of thirteen percent. But already the country's two major trade unions are pressing for a sixteen percent increase. In the catering industry, workers demanded a basic minimum wage of twenty-five thousand pesetas (360 U.S. dollars) a month.
Employers later accepted the wage demands, but refused to reduce the work week from forty-four hours to forty. The hotel and catering unions finally accepted the conditions and the strike was called off.