Doctors, teachers, taxi drivers go on strike in Spain's Catalonia
Barcelona police estimate 16,500 teachers and healthcare workers took to the streets.
Thousands of workers participated in a five-day strike in Catalonia to demand more resources for the public sector. Teachers, taxi drivers, and healthcare workers stopped working on Wednesday to protest in front of the regional parliament in Barcelona.
Barcelona police estimated that only 6,500 teachers and healthcare workers participated in one strike.
After a series of fruitless negotiations with Education Minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, the unions Ustec, CCOO, and UGT decided to go ahead with the strike.
Ustec called on the regional government to invest 6% of Catalonia's GDP in public education, as mandated by the Catalan Education Law. They also want educational professionals' working conditions to be improved.
In another strike, organized by the Metges healthcare union, an estimated 10,000 doctors and nurses staged a protest that began in front of the regional health department. This is the first such demonstration in Catalonia since 2018.
A strike has been called for 25,000 health professionals from health centers and hospitals throughout the region.
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Meanwhile, thousands of taxi drivers in approximately 900 vehicles shut down one of Barcelona's main roads, Gran Via, for hours to protest digital platforms. The protesters claimed that platforms that make fairs flexible are "killing the taxi," and they primarily targeted Free Now, but also Uber.
At the same time, healthcare workers have been on strike in the Spanish capital, Madrid, for weeks.
Protesters claim that the regional government is dismantling public health services in favor of private health care providers. They claim that the Madrid government has reduced funding for the public healthcare system, resulting in a severe shortage of resources and staff in public hospitals.
Madrid’s regional government, led by the Popular Party’s Isabel Ayuso, has come under fire in recent years for poor staffing in hospitals and primary healthcare centers.
Earlier this month, Vox and the Popular Party (PP), the main Spanish far-right opposition parties, called on a Madrid rally that gathered tens of thousands of people on Saturday to protest against the leftist government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
The protests in Madrid's Cibeles Square, according to Vox, assembled approximately 700,000 people, however, AFP reported a much smaller number of 30,000.
The Madrid protestors chanted slogans calling the socialist leader and PM a "traitor" as they held up his photos and waved Spanish flags.