Spanish public sector austerity strike - Your stories

  • Published

Spanish public sector workers are holding a strike in protest against an average 5% cut in pay that comes into effect this month, as part of a government austerity package.

Readers of BBC News online have been sharing their experiences of the strike and the country's economic crisis.

Angeles Rodriguez de Cara, Madrid, Spain

I am on strike today, but I do feel I am in a minority.

I am a research scientist at a publicly funded centre. My salary will be cut by 5% - about 100 euros a month. And so will my husband's - he is also a public sector worker.

I don't even have the luxury of a permanent job - I am on a fixed term contract - and still I am subject to the cuts. It's going to be harder for us to save for our children now.

I believe our government has taken action too late, and I think certainly not in the most optimal way. The measures are late and lazy, and why salary cuts - instead of increasing taxes?

As usual, these measures are going to affect those who are less well off the most, while the wealthy ones use alternative means not to declare how much money they have.

This is the government that cancelled the "patrimonio" tax, which affects mostly those who are well off. I still don't know how this government can be called socialist.

I took my daughter to school today and it is clear to me that most teachers are not taking part in the strike. I think that's because the unions have done a poor job of publicising it.

They have not explained how important this strike is. If it has a big impact, there will be a general strike. But now, I don't think there will be one.

Jose Garcia, Huelva, Spain

I work in the private sector. Over the past months and years I have seen my work colleagues made redundant and our pay frozen.

It is about time the seemingly "untouchable" public sector workers, who account for one in four workers, took some responsibility in addressing the financial problems too.

I am 35 years old and I currently work in the agricultural sector for an international company who work on strawberry varieties. I have been suffering from the economic downturn now for over 12 months or more, by not receiving pay increases.

Meanwhile the workers in the public sector, due to their union's contractual agreements, have continued to receive them.

To a great extent, the public sector workers have distanced themselves from the economic crisis and have had an "it's not going to affect me" attitude. What they should remember is that it is us private sector workers who keep them in work and they should suffer a little too!

The private sector in general is in agreement with the austerity measures as everybody needs to play a part to the road to recovery. I and the private sector will certainly be affected further once VAT and income tax are targeted next.

I think that the government workers should have a little more solidarity bearing in mind we have all had several years of bonanza and that everything comes to an end. After all, nobody from the public sector is being made redundant but are only being asked to reduce their salaries from between 5 and 15%.

Kyle Sullivan, Madrid, Spain

I currently teach English to civil servants in two government ministries.

Not one of my students is going on strike, and looking around the ministries today they seem to be functioning as normal.

How the unionists came up with 75-80% participation is beyond me. The general feeling amongst the civil servants is that this strike is just a masquerade being played out by the trade unions and the closely aligned government, and it is too little, too late.

Why haven't the trade unions been lobbying to the government to help the 20% unemployed in this country? Why weren't they fighting to encourage the government into implementing measures two years ago; when any measure wouldn't have needed to be so drastic?

Most people here understand the need to tighten their belts to avoid going the way of Greece. However the general sentiment is that reducing civil servants' wages by 5%, capping pensions and doing away with the baby bonus is not the way.

Many feel that the money wasted having to support 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities, with their own individual parliaments, is where the true problem lies. Granted, Zapatero has outlined plans to reduce funding to the communities by 1.2bn euros, but this doesn't go far enough for many.

Martin Alejandro Carmona Selva, Barcelona, Spain

I'm 32 and I'm a consultant in HR and IT. And no, I won't be striking.

Why? First of all, because this crisis hasn't affected me much (yet) and because I feel that striking is not the best thing to do right now.

If you strike you won't change the path things are going on and, moreover, you'll do more harm to our fragile economy.

Yes, I know austerity is not the best choice in this current situation. But striking is not the way to change it.

All parties - government, opposition and the unions as well - did nothing when we were sky-rocketing with the construction bubble. Now, it's too late for crying. Much too late, I'm afraid.