Thursday, September 30, 2010

When times get tough, just go on strike

So yesterday there was a huelga general, or a general strike in Spain. Because of the budget cuts all over the country and the failing economy, people have not been very happy. There were strikes last year of the Madrid metro, commuter trains, civil servants, and air traffic controllers. However, they did not go on strike all together for one day. Yesterday the unions decided to demonstrate their frustration with Zapatero (Spain's president)for so many budget cuts. Since unions are not as popular in the US seeing an entire city shut down for a strike was very interesting to me. Most of the stores yesterday were closed, public transportation was running at 50%. There were lots of demonstrations in the streets and center of Madrid. I'm no expert on unions and labor laws here in Spain, but it seems to me that whenever there is something the Spanish people are not happy about they just go on strike. I do think though that the strikes have an effect. When the metro shuts down, the city is a mess. There are twice as many people on every train and the trains come less frequently. The unions are happy with the outcome of the strike so I'm hoping there won't be another one for a while! Until then here is a video about the effect of the strike on public transportation.

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