There are five trade unions representatives at KL. Diego Bravo Barquilla (CCOO), Edurne Castro Etxaburu (LAB) Maite Rodriguez Lekue (ELA) Jesús Galdaera Zubieta (ELA) and Mª Dolores Jimenez Martinez (CCOO). Here are a few of their points of view.
The stigma faced by disabled workers: Many of them do not want to say that they are disabled. They introduce themselves as if they were working in ordinary companies: "Why do we have to go to a special company because we have a disability?" Rodriguez admits that she had not wanted to come to KL. She says: "Ours is a very productive world, both at work and in terms of social relationships."
Workers' strength: "We workers at KL have more strength than those at Gureak", all five of them say. Are our salaries low? That's true. But we got through the economic crisis quite well. Compared with ordinary companies, we weathered the crisis better, our salaries have gone up every year.
The need to work on disabilities: “One of the things we trade unions representatives have to work on is improving the specific work post depending on each worker's disability: they have come here from other jobs (whether because of illness or as a result of an accident) with the skills they had before, but 'as their disability is a new thing', they have to get used to their new position." Several jobs have to be examined as disability limits the ability to improve performance.
Disabled People's Social Integration Law: "The public authorities do not comply with the law. The law says that ordinary companies must have 2% disabled workers, but many companies would rather pay a fine than comply with the law. Companies do not want disabled workers." Galdaera says that "if the law were enforced, there wouldn't be any centres like this." They would be occupational centres. At occupational centres 80% of workers have mental disabilities. Bravo says: "The law puts down a transitional phase from workers to move over to ordinary companies. The authorities should pay more attention to companies complying with the law. Neither the Basque Government nor the provincial government of Gipuzkoa comply with the law in their own areas, and they don't do anything to develop the transitional phase for workers. Some companies say that they do, but the people they employ are subcontracted and they don't get paid the same as the other workers."
KL's contribution: "People know our company, but not on the inside. In fact, when workers start here they're astonished by the quality we produce", says Rodriguez. Bravo adds: "A part of society believes that we do not produce like other people because we are disabled, so many people have the idea that ordinary companies save us. But it isn't at all like that. Galdaera does not agree. "What people know and don't know about us isn't the same in every town. I'm from Aretxabaleta and the worker families there are close to us."
Increasingly free from being dominated: These workshops do not make their own products, they are subcontracted. However, their work is getting better and better and they are increasingly free from anybody else's dominance. Thanks to taking work responsibly, they recycle and gain qualifications. So they are increasingly demanding with the companies they give work to, and this leads to improved quality at work posts too.
Working in solidarity: "There are also workers at KL whose illnesses or disabilities have been late-comers. Relationships with them are more complicated. When disabled workers who have worked in ordinary companies come to us, the work process tends to be complex", all five say. Jimenez says: "The beginnings are not easy. You have to work on getting along. Having professional health workers to hand is good, but mostly it's the other workers who have to help them. People with serious disabilities need to trust other Individuals even more and be treated with solidarity, love and encouragement.
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.
After making preparatives over the last few months, BiziLagunEkin ('with our neighbours') platform has been set up in Donostia. "The current model of tourism in the city concerns us. We are a meeting place for people from different ideologies and ways of life. What brings us together is a concern about the consequences of tourism in our city on local people's lives".
The Government of Navarre (Basque Country) has decided to offer public health care to the people who have been excluded from it; for instance, immigrants without documents.
A pension of less than 1,080 Euros. That is the figure which the Pentsionistak Martxan (Pensioners on the March) platform has set forward as the lowest dignified pension, and on 17th March tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the main Basque cities in support. The people furthest from that objective in the Basque Autonomous Community (Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa) are women.
In 2017 somebody at Sarriguren (in the Iruñea area of Navarre) suggested that part of the town's participative budget be used to create a natural wooded area along the canal there.