|Strikers in Galicia|
There was a general strike in Spain today with trade unions saying there was an 80 percent turnout and the right wing Government saying that it was 30 percent.
As usual the truth will lie somewhere in the middle.
I think I have a little insight into Spain and the Spanish people. The Spanish worker has a very different attitude, in general, to the British. A Spanish worker wants to work for the civil service and retire with a good pension. There is not the same emphasis in Spain on climbing to the top of the greasy tree and being career orientated over their quality of life, particularly, family life and that for me is one of the many charms of the country. Unfortunately, it also makes the 'entrepreneurship' of the Spanish economy less than what it might be.
Workers in Spain, have what we would call, fabulous employment rights. They currently get 45 days pay per year of employment if they are made redundant, although the current Government wants to cut that to 33. That equates to 7 in the U.K. Spain however, is one of the hardest places in the world to start a business. They also have this weird notion that when business turns down like now in the recession, instead of cutting your profit margin from what you made in the good times to increase business, you increase your prices to make more profit from the dwindling customers you still have! Very strange.
However you have to remember that Spain is a fragile democracy which until a few years ago was under the Franco dictatorship. I have a friend who has told me of what that was like for his family. His Grandfather was denounced as a 'Rojo', (Red), by a neighbour who coveted his fields. He was arrested and only through the auspices of the village priest was he let go. Many people disappeared, never to be seen again in those times and the Catholic Church being in leagues with Franco, wielded enormous power. He had to move to Germany to escape after being released from prison.Many old people even yet when asked what they think of Franco will be non-committal for the fear of being locked up, even in their own heads.
So, you have to remember that the Spanish people have fought hard for their democracy and their liberties, although like in the first sentence the way forward for Spain lies in the the middle somewhere. Somewhere, where they can develop their own particular traits and economy free from the constraint of the Euro-Zone and the ECB and in particular, the Franco-German axis, who do not understand how economies like Spain work.