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Protesters call for 'fair' way out of Covid-19 crisis on International Workers' Day

May 1 demonstrations organized by unions held in Barcelona and other cities throughout Catalonia

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01 May 2021 01:59 PM

by

ACN|Barcelona

Despite the rain and the pandemic, hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Barcelona and other cities across Catalonia on Saturday, International Workers' Day, to demand a "fair" way out of the Covid-19 health and economic crisis.

In Barcelona, rally-goers marched down Via Laietana, in the city center, as part of one of Catalonia's first pandemic-time Labor Day protests.

In attendance were CCOO and UGT union leaders Javier Pacheco and Camil Ros, who categorically rejected what they described as "inappropriate" banking sector lay-offs.

Numerous Nissan, H&M, CaixaBank, and BBVA workers who have been affected by lay-offs were present. The labor reform "allows companies to take up and leave Spain in under a month," lamented Miguel Àngel Boiza, a CCOO member at Nissan.

Meanwhile, in the southern Catalan city of Tarragona, workers gathered at Rambla Nova avenue. The protest, which featured the slogan 'The country is indebted to the working class', attracted some 300 people.

Raising the minimum wage, repealing the labor and pensions reforms, and encouraging employment policies were amongst their demands.

Union members from the Bic Graphic company, where around 20% of workers were laid off, were also there to voice their frustrations.

In Lleida, where 150 people gathered in front of the Seu Vella cathedral, similar grievances were aired as protesters called on large companies to not destroy jobs as well as on Catalan politicians to form a government in order to tackle labor issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

250 workers in northern Catalonia, in Girona, braved the bad weather to make their demands heard. According to those gathered, Girona needs a new tourism model and to find a solution for the 40,000 workers who are poor despite being employed.

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  • A woman raising her fist at the 2021 International Workers' Day rally in Tarragona (by Eloi Tost)

  • A woman raising her fist at the 2021 International Workers' Day rally in Tarragona (by Eloi Tost)

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