Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


I am now too old to be an idealist, but today I am on strike, even though I know it will change nothing.

As I explain in the post below, I will definitely not be supporting the unions in this strike, I will just be making my own personal point. 

Let me explain.

The Spanish government, in its infinite wisdom (I hasten to add that my political sympathies tend to lean more towards this particular bunch than their predecessors, but not by much - perhaps it is better to say that I hold them in marginally less contempt) has decided to squeeze public employees, of which I am one.

When the first round of civil service paycuts bit, I did not strike. I thought it quite fair and logical that we all shared the burden on the road to recovery. Now however, all that has changed.

I have had a 15% wage cut (my taxes have been lowered to hide the extent of the cut). I have had my holiday pay slashed, as well as all other bonuses. "Ok", you might say, "at least you have a job". I agree wholeheartedly but... Where does this money go? To subsidise the profligate banks, that's where.

As a result of this overall pay cut of about 25% I am finding it increasingly difficult to pay my mortgage and pay for my children's studies - as indeed is my ex-wife who is also a civil servant. 

Recently I went to my bank to express these concerns and to renegotiate my mortgage. The result? they offered to refinance my mortgage at 9% + Euribor! Therefore, I have been forced to give 25% of my salary to the banks so that I can then go begging to them for a loan at an interest rate that would have seemed excessive to Shylock. Shame on the banks! Shame on the government!

This is why I am striking. Yet I insist, I am one of the lucky ones. 

1 comment:

  1. As you say, we are all in this together and all must take a hit. Well, at least in theory, though I suspect that some people, probably including those who are responsible for the mess, are taking less of a hit than the rest of us.

    While I understand the anger of the strikers, I also see that protesting will do no good. The government is in an impossible situation and must make cuts, however painful these may be. All the protesters can hope to do is push the cuts from themselves onto others, however much they pretend otherwise. In a sense, those who are able to protest because they have the power of the unions behind them are being abusive because they are seeking to be let off more lightly than those who do not have the power to protest.

    It is easy to be a unified nation in the halcyon days, much less easy when times are hard.