Barcelona goods drivers started a strike at midnight (article in Castilian) and this morning have caused serious traffic jams on the main motorway out of the city towards Girona and France, by parking their lorries on the AP-7 highway. The area affected lies between the towns of Santa Perpetua de la Mogoda and Bellaterra, a stretch of motorway of three to four lanes in each direction that has seen five-kilometre tailbacks today. The 48-hour strike by lorry drivers from throughout the province of Barcelona has been called to demand that the labour agreement reached between them and their bosses is adhered to (meaning a 3 percent pay rise); some 40,000 drivers could potentially take part according to the organising trade unions. However, apart from the effects being felt in Barcelona, throughout the rest of the province, the reports are of limited action.
The organisation Comunitat de Sant'Egidio, which has for many years helped homeless people in Barcelona, said today that the number of 'sin techo' (literally 'without roof', meaning homeless people) living in the city has doubled in the past six months (article in Castilian). According to a spokeswoman for the Comunitat, up until a few months ago, they were helping out around 150 people a day, whereas in recent times this has shot up to 300 a day. The spokeswoman, Raquel Sancho who is in charge of the organisation's homeless aid programme, said the new people who were living on the streets had been directly affected by the recent crisis, they are of all ages and many are foreigners.
More students have today joined the occupation of university buildings, in the Bellas Artes department of Barcelona University, and calls were made for the resignation of the Rector of the University, Didac Ramírez for his role in the expulsion of students from the main building last week. They claim that he didn't make any effort to talk to the students about their concerns with the so-called 'Plan de Bologna', which will have effects on university teaching throughout Europe. In related news, a report leaked to the press suggests that the director general of the Catalan Police (Mossos d'Esquadrà), Rafael Olmos, will be fired (article in Castilian) next week by Interior Minister Joan Saura, for the incidents that followed the expulsion of the students. There will be a demonstration today by university students in protest both of the Plan de Bologna and police brutality.