The head of the Spanish employers' organisation, the Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (el patronal), Gerardo Díaz Ferran, says that all businesses should open on September 29th, the day chosen for a general strike by the country's trade unions (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Speaking at an event yesterday, Díaz Ferran defended the rights of workers to do a full day of work if they wanted to. He added that the strike would already do a lot of damage, but it would do even more if the pickets are active and use force and illegal means to stop people who want to from doing a normal day of work. Díaz Ferran insisted that the majority of workers "want to work" and that if a company has to close due to pressure from pickets, then it needs to notify the authorities of such.
The tunnelling equipment that is being used to build the high-speed train infrastructure under Barcelona is now entering a critical phase with work to start that will bring it close to the foundations of the Sagrada Familia (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The 'Barcino' tunnel boring machine is now going to be used on the section of the Carrer Mallorca that runs next to the unfinished Gaudí cathedral; although the exact timing of the tunnelling is not known, it is estimated that in about 15 days, the machinery will reach the section that is just next to the foundations, about 255 metres from the start point of this section of work, which is at the Carrer Padilla - the new section will stretch from Padilla to Provença/Bruc. To ensure the greatest efficiency of 'Barcino', all the cutting tools on the machinery have been replaced before starting this next stage of the work. Many people and organisations have voiced their concern that the tunnelling will have an adverse effect on the stability of the Sagrada Familia.
The Generalitat has cut €63 million from Catalunya's university budget for this year (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). It has emerged that the rectors of the region's public universities were called to a meeting in July by representatives from the government's Economy and University departments, and told that of the €105 million earmarked for their institutions for 2010, they would in fact only receive €42 million. As such, the universities have had to organise additional cuts for the last quarter of this year, to add to those that they had already put together, with the aim of finishing the year without additional debt. As a result, the University of Barcelona is looking at a budget of between €18 million and €19 million less than expected, the rector Dídac Ramírez told El Periodico; last year, the university managed to finish in the black and thus avoided adding to its existing €80 million debt. "I expected a cut, but I thought it would be less," admitted Ramírez. Similarly, the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, which has pre-existing debt of €89 million, will receive €12 million less than expected this year and has had to cancel planned building works, including making smaller teaching rooms in line with European requirements.
Also in the news: Zapatero says Spanish confidence has recovered and debt crisis is over (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Artur Mas says that Spain is no longer "attractive" to Catalunya and that if he wins Generalitat elections, he'll reduce civil service by up to a quarter (read article in Catalan here, Avui); Electricity bills to go up by between two and four percent next month (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico).