Spanish State: Let’s support the demands in the health and education sectors

By Rubén Tzanoff

In the face of the deterioration of the public sector, protests by workers and users are spreading. We need to unite the demands and press for the call of a general strike.

The budget cuts in healthcare go back to 2012, with the “cutbacks” of Mariano Rajoy (PP) when he was president. Since then, neither the PP nor the PSOE have reversed the situation at the national or regional level and healthcare has clearly deteriorated with the economic crisis.

Workers and patients are the victims

Disinvestment and cuts cause serious consequences, and express the deterioration in healthcare in two ways: poor working conditions and poor patient care. Workers in all levels of healthcare have insufficient salaries, precarious contracts, exhausting working hours and insufficient materials. Patients suffer from the closure of healthcare centers, emergency rooms without doctors on site, on-line care, lack of professionals, lack of material resources and endless waits to get a specialty appointment or surgery.

From Madrid to Andalusia and other Communities

Before, during and after the pandemic, the demands were repeated. The maximum expression of the defense of public health by workers and the population took place during the month of November. In the Plaza de la Cibeles 300,000 people demonstrated against the plans of Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP).

The president of the Community of Madrid was forced to give in, so on December 22 the strike was temporarily suspended. But as the responses of the Regional Ministry of Health were unsatisfactory, on Thursday, January 12, the strike called by Amyts (Association of Doctors and Graduates of Madrid) was resumed. On Sunday 15 there was a demonstration of 30,000 people called by Marea Blanca (White Tide). Something similar is happening in Andalusia, where the lack of response from the Ministry of Health and the SAS (Andalusian Health Service) led to the call for a strike on Friday, January 20, with the support of the SMP (Union of Primary Care Doctors). There are at least eight other communities that are going on strike in Primary Care because the collapse in hospital emergency rooms is spreading throughout the country.

In Catalonia, health and education will be mobilized

Both sectors resume the protests stating, “Without health we are dead and without education there is no future.” On Wednesday, January 25 there will be a march from Plaza Sant Jaume to the Parliament, on Thursday 26 there will be decentralized mobilizations throughout the territory and on Saturday 28 there will be a concentration in Plaza Sant Jaume. If the health and education workers win, we all win, that’s why we must offer them solidarity.

The authorities cannot wash their hands

The autonomous governments and the “progressive coalition” government PSOE-UP, headed by Pedro Sánchez cannot wash their hands of the problems; the problems are national. The cuts persist in the General State Budgets and in those corresponding to the autonomous regions. The panorama is critical, that is why a unified struggle of health, education and other sectors is needed, with coordinated mobilizations and strikes, with the support of the population and the planning of actions in joint assemblies.

The general strike, when?

The union bureaucrats are not up to the task. We must demand that the majority leaderships of UGT and CC. OO. to call a general strike in support of the healthcare workers in struggle and with an agenda that includes the most immediate demands of all the working people. It is an unpostponable necessity to stop the deterioration of living conditions and that the capitalists pay for the crisis. It is the path of demands that the workers in France, the United Kingdom and other countries, as in Peru, are following in defense of their democratic and social rights and against the murderous repression. It is also necessary to set up a new political alternative, an far-left front to turn everything around.