Striking workers in Spain clash with police, seek pay hikes

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CÁDIZ, Spain (AP) — Metalworkers burned street barricades for a second straight day in Spain’s southern city of Cádiz on Wednesday, as trade unions demanded wage increases in line with a recent spike in inflation across the European Union.

Workers cut some roads leading into Cádiz for a brief period during the morning. They set alight several cars and clashed with police, who responded with rubber bullets. Two police officers suffered minor injuries. Nobody was arrested.

Juan Linares, the provincial head of the industrial department of the CCOO union, one of Spain’s largest, said he was not optimistic about a quick resolution to the walkout.

“The situation is at a standstill. There are no phone calls, no situation that would lead us to open negotiations,” Linares told Spanish broadcaster RTVE.

The inflation rate in Spain has risen to its highest in years, driven up by energy costs. In October, it stood at 5.5%.

Nadia Calviño, a deputy prime minister and economy minister in Spain’s government, asked for the violence to stop so that a deal could be struck.

“We have total respect for the demands of the workers and the freedom of demonstration and expression, but it is not to possible to behave violently within the framework of a negotiation of a collective or labor agreement,” Calviño said.

Most of the employment in the province’s metal sector is in shipbuilding. Cádiz, a city of 116,000 people located on the coast near the Strait of Gibraltar, is a blue-collar city where trade unions have deep roots.

Labor groups called for more demonstrations on Thursday.

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