A fine time was had by all

I had no idea that a Japanese strike was any different to strikes anywhere else until a friend sent me a clipping from an interview in the New York Times, where a Japanese worker was asked if they go on strike.

“In Japan,” he said, “we have what I suppose you Americans would call ‘job inactions.’ When we strike, we put on armbands to show we are unhappy and we go into the plant and work twice as hard as usual to prove to the bosses how valuable we are.”

I’m note entirely sure that it isn’t a spoof, but the police in Paterna, near Valencia, resorted to the same sort of action a couple of weeks ago in protest against proposed cuts in ‘extras’ such as overtime and special cash allowances, on top of the 5% wage reduction all civil servants are having to suffer because of the crisis.

Instead of going on the usual go-slow, they went on a go-fast, a three day fining spree. According to one copper, they were going to “comply with every traffic regulation, live entertainment law and municipal by-law to the letter,” in an attempt to piss the local population off so much that they would march en-mass to the Town Hall in support of the police, and demand that the mayor and his cronies rescind the budgetry order. Each officer was told to hand out at least 100 tickets per day, 80 percent more than normal. It got to the point that they began running out of the infamous pink slips.

What’s pissed the locals off in particular is that it’s them who are suffering and being forced to pay fines for the tiniest of infringements that would usually result in being either entirely ignored or merit nothing more than a ‘quick word in the shell-like’. They are saying that it’s a dispute between the council and its workers, but they are being penalized.

It seems to have worked, though, because going from a totally intransigent point of not discussing anything with the unions, after three days the Town Hall suddenly agreed to open negotiations, and the strike was called off.

It’s the other way around in Valencia City, where the police are giving far fewer fines than normal since they were ordered to impose maximum sanctions, most likely as an underhand way for the cash-strapped council to bring in more of the readies.

Meanwhile, the Guardia Civil are taking the tried and tested old go-slow route, refusing to fine people as a protest against wage cuts, thus starving the government of part of the €65million they pull in from fines every month.

Now that’s a strike idea I can happily work with!

 To discover more about Spain, visit http://www.derekworkman-journalist.com/, and http://derekworkman.wordpress.com


2 Responses to “A fine time was had by all”

  1. sylvia Pilath Says:

    Hi there would like to recieve this blog

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