Following a breakdown in talks between the bosses and workers of companies in charge of the tolls on certain Catalan motorways, strike action will start by employees this afternoon, causing potential difficulties for people starting their Easter holiday (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Representatives from trade unions working on behalf of the employees of the companies Acesa and Aucat, who manage various toll motorways in the coastal areas of Catalunya, said early this morning that the negotiations had ended without reaching a resolution and as such there would be stoppage between today and April 5th, which is Easter Monday. The workers who are at the tolls themselves will stop working for three hours today and tomorrow (between 6 and 9pm, then from 10pm to 1am), as well as April 4th and 5th (on the 5th, the stoppage will be from 10am to 1pm). In addition, employees in the companies’ offices will stop working for three hours on certain days between March 30th and April 6th. Employees say the strike is necessary to defend certain labour rights reached in previous agreements (convenios), which include flexible working times to balance work and family life, as well as the conversion of temporary to permanent contracts. The toll companies have said they will leave the barriers up during the strike periods to prevent serious congestion.
The issue of prostitution on La Rambla has been raised again with the apparent emergence of a two-level approach to those women offering sexual services by the police monitoring the area (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). There are those who are ‘semi-tolerated’ by the Guardia Urbana on permanent patrol on the street and those women who are actively pursued. According to some of the prostitutes who work on La Rambla, the reason is because there are some women who also set out to steal from their clients, which makes them a greater target for the police. Those suspected of robbery tend to be African women, while those who restrict themselves to offering sex to clients are often originally from Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania. In addition, the latter group says that they go to private rooms with a client rather than perform acts in public spaces, which some prostitutes were photographed doing a few months ago in images then published in many Spanish and international newspapers. There is also the question of documentation, according to the Guardia Urbana, in that the Romanians, coming from an EU country, are subject to less problems to those women from outside the EU.
The king of Spain, Juan Carlos I, spoke out yesterday in favour of bull-fighting on a trip to Seville (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The king was in the southern Spanish city to take part in a prize-giving ceremony that included ‘Trofeos Taurinos’ (Bullfighting Trophies), organised by the Royal Cavalry Armory of Seville (Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla). After the ceremony, the king was asked by journalists if his presence at the event could be interpreted as support for bull-fighting, to which the king answered “of course”. He added that his daughter, the Infanta Elena, would go to some of the bull-fighting events being staged as part of the Feria de Abril de Sevilla. The king himself is a regular attendee at fights in the Madrid bull-ring of Plaza de las Ventas during the festival of San Isidro. At the current time, the Catalan parliament is debating a popular legislative initiative seeking the abolition of bull-fighting in the autonomous community—the final vote is expected at some point in May or June.
Also in the news: Real Madrid’s basketball team defeat Regal Barça in second match of five to decide which teams goes to Euroleague final in Paris (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Bank of Spain approves mergers of Catalan savings banks (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Woman who refused to speak Castililan fined for calling Guàrdia Civil agents ‘francoists’ (read full article in Catalan here, Avui).