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Spanish general strike of 1988

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Spanish general strike of 1988

Spain's 1988 general strike took place on December 14, and in Spain it is simply called 14-D (shortened form of 14 Diciembre; Cf. N30). It was called by the two main trade unions: CCOO and Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT).

Triggered by a significant reform in the labour market, namely a new more flexible contract for unexperienced youngsters with less redundancy pay, the strike was moreover a manifestation of general discontent with Spain's Socialist government policies. The government's economic policies were thought to be too conservative by trade unions and many left-wing voters.

The country was completely and peacefully paralyzed for 24 hours, prompting the government to negotiate with the unions. Even the TV signal was turn off by the workers. That flexible contract was retired and welfare state was increased. However, the strike did not prevent a third absolute majority by the socialist party, whose leader, Felipe Gonzalez, remained popular.

Consequences of the 14-D strike

Some economists believe the strike was to blame for a large increase in public spending, which led to an increase in the budget deficit. Others prefer to blame public spending in the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona, the 1992 world fair in Seville, plus the first high-speed train, for the large budget deficit. The budget deficit led to spending cuts which, coupled with a tough monetary policy, led to a recession in 1993.

Other important general strikes in modern Spain

  • 1985 strike (24 hours): only called by CC.OO., one of the two main unions, against reforms in the pension system.
  • 1991 strike (4 hours): against Gulf War.
  • 1992 strike (8 hours): against labour market reforms.
  • 1994 strike (24 hours): against labour market reforms.
  • 2002 strike (24 hours): against labour market reforms.
  • 2003 strike (2 hours): against Iraq War (only called by UGT).

Use of 14-D in other strikes

Some minority unions, including the students' union, the anarchist union, CNT, and the second largest teachers' union, STEC, called a strike in the educational sector for 14-D, 2005 to use the symbolic power of 14-D as a strike called by the left against a socialist government and to protest a new education law which they thought gave too much money to private schools, which are mostly Catholic, in Spain. The strike had limited success due to lack of support from other unions.

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