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.
Standing up for EPPK (Basque Political Prisoners Collective) prisoners is a greater risk in the 21st century than it was in the worst times of the Franco regime, as is political activism in their favour, being concerned about their rights, or helping their relatives financially. The "Everything is ETA" emergency doctrine is absolutely in force.
Tearing up the Statute on the 20th of September, the referendum on the 1st of October, the general strike on the 3rd of October: those are the historical keys from the start of this autumn which will open up Catalonia's immediate future. And after everything which has happened in Catalonia over the last two weeks, it is hard to imagine any route other than that towards independence.
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."
Is the Gureak or KateaLegaia (KL) workers' world known to the general public? Do people know about their work? Their conditions and contribution? There are nearly 7,000 worker involved in Gipuzkoa. We spoke with Iñigo Oyarzabal from Gureak and Pablo Nuñez, the managing director of KL, as well as with several trades unions representatives at both companies.
The archives are full of articles underlining the advantages and benefits of tourism. But something is changing, and quickly at that. More and more people have stopped seeing "tourism" as a neutral, clear and agreeable word. You cannot help be scared by the endless queue to visit Gaztelugatxe. Everyone has a friend or relative who has had to leave where they live because of the increase in the price of housing. Local associations and assemblies are more and more worried; reports and... [+]
Ibarbengoa metro station, between Getxo and Berango, was completed in 2011, but it has never been used. The station is part of a larger plan which has yet to be carried out: 8,000 houses and a giant car park in an area which has kept its rural character until now. The housing project has been temporarily suspended, but the car park plan has not. A group of citizens has spent six years on the field where the car park is going to be built: their aim is to stop its construction and, at the same... [+]
Nothing is what it seems inside the Basque Country's largest public works programme. It could have been a symbol of progress, but it has brought extreme precariousness with it. They say it will connect us with the north of Europe, but it is using the sweat and blood of people from the south. Thousands of millions of Euros, two decades and 6,000 people are going to be needed to build the High Speed Railway. Will they be able to do that without squeezing the workers' necks? We have... [+]
“Something has to be done. We have to go onto the streets. The government has to know how angry society is." Maitane Azurmendi Ongi, a member of Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak Bizkaia (‘Bizkaia Welcomes Refugees’) is clear about that. On 29th April, the 80th anniversary of the Gernika bombardment, she would like to see thousands of people in Gernika. The meeting point is Muxika, from where there will be a silent march to Gernika in support of refugees and in memory of what... [+]
We will examine EAJ and PSOE's proposals for reforming the Citizen's Security Law – the Muzzle Law – in the following lines. As well as the the initiative against it taken by the Eleak-Libre organization.
There have been important results a year after we stood up to the Muzzle Law and the fine which Spanish Governmentthe gave us under its terms. In the first case connected with journalism, the Muzzle Law has taken a step backwards. Those of us who have decided not to remain silent when confronted with human rights violations have a grin on our faces, having won another reason to carry on providing information and influencing.