Thousands of workers and housewives marched on Thursday (8 September) through Gatafe, an industrial town south of Madrid in central Spain.
Thousands of workers and housewives marched on Thursday (8 September) through Gatafe, an industrial town south of Madrid in central Spain. They were protesting against the high cost of living, lack of housing and what they consider inadequate school and transport systems. A local Housewives' Association called the protest which was joined by members of trade union organisations and left-wing political groups.
SYNOPSIS: One unofficial estimate put the number of marchers at 30,000. Their ranks took an hour to wind through the city's central streets. Getafe has a reputation as a volatile city. A year ago there were frequent clashes between strikers and police here.
In recent years inflation has hit Spain very hard-reputedly as high as thirty per cent in the past 12 months??? Since July, there have been big price rises among such basic items as coffee, sugar, soya bean oil, flour, butane gas, electricity and petrol.
The new government of Premier Adolfo Suarez tried to check the rate of inflation by partially freezing prices of goods and services until 30 September. But economic observers say this has not really worked, in part because the 25 percent devaluation of the peseta in August pushed up import prices.
The government has had to emphasise keeping down labour costs to bring inflation under greater control. Wages rose by 29 per cent last year and Labour chiefs want to hold wage increases to no more than 18 or 19 per cent this year. Naturally this has been fiercely resisted by the newly-legalised trade unions. The union leaders have said they reject any scheme that keeps wage boosts below price-rises.