Eneko Leunda (ELA) and Xabier Izagirre (LAB) are the workers' representatives at the Tolosa and Donostia workshops: "Working with people with mental disabilities is not easy", Leunda tells us. Izagirre, on the other hand, says that "the numbers of people with mental illnesses has increased over the last fifteen years. For instance, even people who have studied at university, but who have got involved with drugs, suffer from depression."
“We defend the same rights for all workers, but each of these workers has particular characteristics, we have to listen to each person's problems and, so, the problems are not just work issues, we also have to listen to their difficulties outside work. So we have to work as 'psychologists'", they both say.
“At first Gureak was an occupational centre, it was special, the workshops were protected. And still now 1,000 of the 5,500 workers do not have contracts. The growth has been incredible. A new model should be worked on in order to improve the situation. A medical office would be good for improving workers' efficiency; there is a personal helper, but that has to be improved on", Izagirre adds.
As companies and public authorities apparently do not comply with the Disabled People's Social Integration Law, workers with disabilities go to specialised centres: "These centres are increasingly large, and the transition phase is not carried out as it should be. Ordinary companies do not take these disabled people on, they employ them through subcontracts. And at what price do they work? Well, at the price the companies set, which is the lowest possible. That's the real problem. If the Basque Autonomous Community companies complied with the law, Gureak would be their starting point: an occupational centre and its training, perhaps, developed in a different way", they both say.
In these two ELA and LAB representatives' words, "companies should comply with the law, but to do so the law itself must be updated. Gureak has resources and it does really good work, highly qualified work, increasingly so, but we always hear the same excuse: "The market's in really bad shape." Gureak works for very large companies in the automobile sector, and using increasingly sophisticated processes, but it seems it makes profits for the other companies. "These workers are happy with their jobs, but they all want to earn more. That's what they tell us. They know what other people earn, and people with contracts know 'how much they make at other places'. It's a normal thing to want, we want it to."
Companies like Gureak are a gift for the public authorities. In fact, if Atzegi had not set up Gureak back in the day, the authorities would have had to and, if that had not happened, they would have had much higher costs: "We were both civil servants, our wages were public sector ones."
Gipuzkoa seems to be on the right track, but they both believe that "a well-run public system should improve these companies' situation, if public administrations took charge of them, these people would be in a different place."
“We criticise the Basque Government rather than Gureak, it's the government which should protect conditions and rights. The Basque Government should fine companies which don't comply with the law. That's the snag. In fact, except for salaries the other conditions are good: holidays and relationships, for instance. But, just like us, they want to earn more, live in a flat with their partner, and they can't".
This article was translated by 11itzulpen.
Gure Esku Dago ('It's in Our Hands', a platform in favour of the right to decide) needed 100,000 people to form a human chain linking Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz. According to the organizers, 175,000 people came together to connect the three Basque cities.
"Damages, public disorder and threats" and "attacking authority" are the crimes which the Spanish National Court has charged eight young Basques with.
A member of the 'Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak' movement ('Welcome to the Refugees') has told Radio Bilbao that over the last three months no ships from Saudi Arabia have docked at Bilbao. Over the previous sixteen months they had loaded 455 containers. According to OEE, social pressure has made them use another port.
The Bizitza da handiena ('Life is the Greatest Thing') campaign was held in Donostia from 19th to 27th May. 63 citizens' movements and trades unions joined in with the "social struggle week" and proclaimed the need for a "citizens' capital". Different trenches have made up a single front. The anti-tourism protest got its message across, the World Tourism Organization holding its highest level meeting in city during the same week as the protest movement.
A year has gone by since Iberdrola electric company and the Basque Government cut the power on the Errekaleor district of Gasteiz. The project then became known to many people, and there was a huge wave of solidarity. Amongst other things, they collected € 10,000 to create their own energy system and now, one year later, they want to thank everybody who took part in the fund-raising on May 20th, which they are calling 100 mila esker ("A Hundred Thousand Thanks") Day.
Thousands of people came together at Herri Urrats (The People's Steps), the festivity which Basque schools (ikastolas) in the northern Basque Country hold every year. Seaska ikastola federation's request to the French government for more teachers was the main subject of conversation this year.
We went through a cathartic process on October 20th, 2011, when they renounced violence, but now, too, writing that ETA has disappeared is no small thing. When you realise everything that means, a shiver goes down your spine. There have been too many events and feelings, too much suffering over the last 60 years for it to be otherwise.
The punishment for a group of men who attacked a women has caused anger in the Basque Country and in Spain. Five men have been tried for attacking a woman during the 2016 San Fermin festivities at Iruñea, Navarre. The Navarrese High Court's reading of the sentence caused considerable media interest: each of the men has been condemned to a nine-year sentence, expenses of 50,000 euros and a restraining order.
On 14 April the biggest demonstration in Iruñea for a long time was held in support of the ten young people from Altsasu, Navarre, who are going to be tried in Madrid. Some people thought it was the biggest demonstration ever held there: the municipal police state that 38,000 people took part, while the organizers say that 50,000 did. Claiming that a brawl in which they took part was "terrorism", the prosecutor has called for them each to be imprisoned between 50 and 62 years.
“After taking part in a four-year long process, we have opened a new playground at our school. It will give boys and girls the same opportunities, they will be surrounded by nature and it has come from their dreams." This is now the new playground at Kurutziaga School at Durango, Bizkaia, has been described. It will be officially opened on 24th April.