Factory workers in Getafe, the industrial area of the Spanish capital, Madrid, went on strike on Thursday (8 January) to demand higher pay and to voice solidarity with the striking workers of the city's underground railway system.
GV Seimens factory with strikers lining railings (2 shots)
SV Strikers behind gates and railings (2 shots)
CU Female staff behind railings
SV Strikers give two-finger victory salute beside slogan saying Help the strikers (2 shots)
SV Sign outside John Deere factory
LV ZOOM IN & OUT Strikers inside factory gates PULL BACK TO SHOW locked gates
SV Strikers' relatives outside gates
Initials BB/0010 EW/MR/BB/0025
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Factory workers in Getafe, the industrial area of the Spanish capital, Madrid, went on strike on Thursday (8 January) to demand higher pay and to voice solidarity with the striking workers of the city's underground railway system.
In all, more than 14,000 workers walked off their jobs to support the strike. The labour unrest -- which is rapidly spreading throughout the country -- presents the most serious threat so far to the new government of King Juan Carlos.
More than two thousand of the Getafe strikers staged their protest with sit-ins at two local churches. Riot police moved in to cordon off the area, and later in the day fired tear-gas grenades to break up all other large gatherings.
On the same day, more than four thousand workers began a 24-hour walk-out at the Ensidesa steel firm in Aviles, near Oviedo, in north-western Spain. The firm, which has plants in several other cities, is one of the country's biggest steel producers.
Meanwhile, government sources have predicted that about 80 per cent of Madrid's underground network will be running by the weekend. Troops have been brought in, in an attempt to reduce the traffic chaos in the city since railworkers went on strike last Tuesday (6 January).
Already two of the Metro's seven lines are running, the trains driven by soldiers and guarded by members of the paramilitary civil guard to prevent sabotage.
Rail union leaders have said that they are confident they will win their claim for higher pay, despite the introduction of troops.
But the government has threatened to militaries the strikers -- to put them under military jurisdiction, as the late General Franco did during an earlier underground rail strike in 1969. This would mean that strikers would be liable for court-martial unless they returned to work.