Esther with members of the Airbus 8. Photo: ETUC
Victory for the Airbus 8: Striking is not a crime!
Earlier this month, thousands of trade unionists marched in Madrid, Spain under the slogan “to strike is not a crime” to show solidarity with eight trade union activists on trial for organising a picket line outside an Airbus factory as part of a nationwide day of action in 2010 against government cuts. As ETUC confederal secretary Esther Lynch argued on this blog a month ago, the case against the union activists used laws from the era of General Franco to criminalise trade union activity (something Conservative MP David Davis accused his own government of doing in the Trade Union Bill.)
On Friday, the Spanish courts agreed with the demonstrators, and found the Airbus 8 as they are known not guilty. The celebration event is already booked for Wednesday evening in the Marcelino Camacho auditorium, named after a Franco-era trade unionist who later led the CCOO, one of the two main trade union confederations in Spain.
This is a great victory, and demonstrates the strength of the Spanish trade union movement. But it also demonstrates that attempts to curtail the right to strike can be defeated. But it doesn’t mean the struggle is over, even in Spain. As global union federation leader Jyrki Raina said:
“This is a victory for the Spanish unions and for the workers who were exercising their fundamental rights. But we continue to support our affiliates in their demands to drop charges in other similar cases and to repeal Article 315.3, which criminalizes the right to strike.”