Barcelona: CNT Occupies the Health Department to Protest the Dismissal of 107 workers in the 061


As part of the campaign for the reinstatement of 107 Catalan 061* service workers fired in March, a couple dozen activists from the CNT occupied the headquarters of the Department of Health on the afternoon of July 23 to demand a meeting with the System of Medical Emergencies (SEM).

(*Note: 061 is the phone number to dial for medical emergencies.)

For some months, the Syndical Section has been carrying out a series of legal and union actions against the company ATENTO, which manages the service, to denounce the injustice and illegality of the firings.

Because of the reluctance of the company to negotiate with CNT, it was decided to escalate the struggle, while also pressing the Department of Health, which is also considered responsible for the situation of the dismissed comrades. It is unacceptable that the Department supports the attitude of ATENTO, allowing the company to systematically ignore the rights of their workers, in a service so essential to the welfare of the population like the SEM.

On account of the SEM's continued refusal to meet with workers, the CNT decided to occupy the premises of the Department of Health to demand a meeting to address the situation of the redundant workers. The occupation went absolutely smoothly, without incident. The occupiers waited inside while our comrades met with representatives of the Department.

At the same time, about fifty people gathered at the gates of the Department to show solidarity with the dismissed workers and support the action of the occupiers. With a playful but combative spirit, the protesters performed a small play which satirized the management of industrial relations in the 061 by ATENTO and SEM. Later, a manifesto by the Syndical Section was read denouncing the unfair situation of workers and, finally, an effigy of the Health Councillor, Marina Geli, was hung, symbolizing the workers' relentless condemnation of the way of managing the Catalan health system and in particular the emergency medical service. The demonstrators also unfurled a banner calling for participation in the assembly of September 15 in Plaça Universitat convened by the Workers' Assembly of Barcelona.

After fixing a meeting for next Tuesday, the occupiers left the building and joined the protest, communicating the success of the action to their comrades and leaving peacefully.

The CNT will continue to act by all means at its disposal to undo the dismissals and to achieve the reinstatement of the comrades. However, we consider it important to emphasize that our struggle is not only for the defense of a few jobs , a defense made more and more necessary by the current offensive of the bosses and government; it is also a struggle to ensure the quality public services for the people and against the covert privatization of these services.

Finally, we would like to thank all the comrades of the CNT from diferent regional unions and the Forestry Workers Union from CNT Guaites, CNT-Catalunya, the CGT trade union section in ATENTO, En Lluita and in general, to thank all who participated and supported the action.

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