Spanish strike workers clashed with police and demanded pay rises

CÁDIZ, Spain (AP) – Metal workers burned street barricades for the second day in a row in the southern Spanish city of Cádiz on Wednesday as unions called for pay rises in line with recent inflation rates across the European Union.

Workers cut off some roads leading to Cádiz for a short time in the morning. They set fire to several cars and clashed with police, who responded with rubber bullets. Two police officers were slightly injured. No one was arrested.

Juan Linares, director of the industrial division of one of Spain’s largest CCOO unions, said he was not optimistic about a quick solution to the march.

“The situation is at a standstill. There are no calls, no situation that would lead to the start of negotiations,” Linares told Spanish broadcaster RTVE.

Inflation in Spain has risen to its highest level in years, driven by energy costs. In October, it was 5.5%.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of the Spanish Government, Nadia Calviño, called for an end to the violence so that an agreement could be reached.

“We fully respect the demands of employees and freedom of demonstration and expression, but it is not possible to behave violently in the context of collective bargaining,” Calviño said.

Most of the employment in the province’s metal industry is in shipbuilding. Cádiz, a city of 116,000 inhabitants located on the coast near the Straits of Gibraltar, is a blue-collar city with deep roots in trade unions.

Labor parties are calling for more protests on Thursday.

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