Judge prohibits Badalona City Hall from working on Spain’s National Day
Administrative Court Number 14 of Barcelona has prohibited Badalona City Hall from opening any municipal offices on Spain’s National Day, this Wednesday the 12th of October. The municipal government of Badalona announced earlier this week that it would offer their workers the possibility of working during the festivity in exchange for another free day, the 9th of December, coinciding with the Immaculada long weekend. This measure would have allowed the opening of offices providing services to citizens, with a skeleton staff of at least 50%, but the judge believes there are political intentions behind the municipal government decision to turn the 12-O into a voluntarily holiday and that these would harm "the general, social and collective interest" of the celebration, as well as the "ideological freedom" of workers. Parallel to the rise of Catalan national sentiment, the 12th of October is regarded in Catalonia as a day used by extreme-right forces to claim the union of the country and fight independence.
Barcelona (CNA).- The City Council of Badalona will not open any municipal offices this Wednesday the 12th of October, as the municipal government had planned together with workers' representatives. A judge has forbidden the opening of facilities during Spain’s National Day, after the Spanish Government Delegation in Catalonia appealed at the last minute, leaving the city hall no time to react. The municipal government of Badalona announced earlier this week it would offer their workers the possibility of working during the festivity in exchange for another free day, the 9th of December, coinciding with the Immaculada long weekend.The judge, however, believes there are political intentions behind the municipal government decision to turn the 12-O into a voluntarily holiday and that these would harm the "ideological freedom" of workers. Spain’s National Day has provoked controversy in recent years following the rise of the pro-independence movement because it is perceived in Catalonia as a day for the extreme-right forces to claim a “united” Spain.
According to the judge's resolution, the City Council opening on the 12th of October would impose a series of "irreparable harms" on workers in relation to their ideological freedom and to the organisation of holidays. Furthermore, it would have involved an expenditure not contemplated in the council’s budget.
The judge also considered that the opening of the municipal offices would have been detrimental to citizens because their opening on a holiday affects "the organisation of proceedings" that the City Council has to make.
The resolution, which follows a request made by the Spanish Government Delegation in Catalonia, will not accept any appeal and the judge has called representatives from both Badalona City Council and the Spanish Government Delegation in Catalonia to appear before him the 13th of October.
Badalona City Hall accept the resolution to protect workers
Badalona’s local government justifies the acceptance of the resolution as a mechanism to protect workers themselves in case of disobedience. In response, however, local government councillors will attend citizens at the doors of the offices and have called on citizens to support them. José Téllez says that the councillors will be "on the front line" to combat "state coupes against local sovereignty”.
Last year the government team of Badalona decided to work on the 12th of October due to the "connotations" this day has in relation to the "glorification of colonialism and the Franco regime", the First Deputy Mayor, José Téllez, explained. People who feel Spanish "certainly have better days to celebrate it", the politician added.
Téllez applauded that the decision of the municipal government serves to "open a debate" about a celebration that he feels does not generate enough civic consensus: “We must review it".
The Catalan Government deemed the Spanish request “ridiculous”
The Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, stated on Tuesday that it is normal that Badalona City Council decided to open its offices on the 12th of October. In a statement made previous to the decision of the judge, Munté stressed that “municipal autonomy" must be respected on such decisions and criticised the reaction of the representative of the Spanish Government, María de los Llanos de Luna, who urged the court’s action. "She's absolutely ridiculous. She should worry about whether they cut essential services to citizens with this (measure), that is not the case”, the politician said.
Spain’s National day perceived as being connected to Unionism
In the last years and as a consequence of the strengthening of the Catalan pro-independence movement, the 12th of October is regarded in Catalonia as a day to counteract independence and claim Spanish unity. Every year, Barcelona becomes the venue of demonstrations by Spanish unity supporters and extreme-right forces.
Besides this, Spain’s capital city also hosts the traditional military march, presided over by the Spanish King and attended by the Spanish President, to celebrate the National Day. Soldiers, military vehicles and aircrafts parade through the centre of Madrid. Normally, the Catalan President does not attend the event and neither do the heads of some other Autonomous Communities, such as the Basque and Navarrese presidents.