As has been reported before (https://www.iclcit.org/olive-oil-sale-in-solidarity-with-cnt-gijon/), members of CNT Gijon (Asturias, northern Spain) were due to be sentenced in a trial that questioned the sheer possibility of defending workers’ rights. Sentence has now been passed and it’s even harsher than feared.
It serves prison terms of three and a half years to all defendants, except for one, and grants a compensation payment for the business owner of a whopping 125,428.1 euros. This is even higher that had been first requested by the attorney on behalf of the accuser, something that is very unusual in a court ruling.
From the very moment the sentence was communicated, CNT’s lawyers have been drafting an appeal to redress its unprecedented severity.
This is not the right time to make an in-depth analysis of the process, nor of its consequences or “odd coincidences”, something that will be done at a later date. It should be noted, though, that the business owner claimed throughout the proceedings that the conflict with the union had caused him to go bankrupt. However, this did not prevent him from putting together a very expensive team of top lawyers.
Likewise, the huge compensation includes a large amount for the loss of a house, which supposedly happened as a result of the union campaign. Notwithstanding the fact that the house was never lost and is still registered under the name of the business owner. Expert reports produced by the accuser contradicted each other, their figures were proved false by our lawyers… Nothing seems to have sowed any doubts in the judge’s determination to convict. It must be said that during the five-months long union campaign in 2017 not a single incident of property damage was reported. Though the business owner would often call the police on our rallies, the officers never saw the need to take any action, as all gatherings were peaceful.
As we see it, this sentence is but another step in a campaign to outlaw the most fundamental forms of labour and union action. As CNT puts it, “this is a frontal attack against all women workers and trade unionism in general. It’s happened to us today, it can happen to anyone next”.
It is time to plan our next move, to continue developing our brand of grass-roots unionism, addressing real-life issues in the workplace with the best possible resources. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will prevent us from taking action to defend workers’ rights. Not a single step back!
Also available in: Español (Spanish)