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Drop The Charges: Call for International Solidarity Actions in Support of 6 Syndicalists Sentenced to 3.5 years by Spanish State

As preparations get underway for Madrid Demonstration on Saturday 24th September, a call has gone out for International solidarity actions in support of the 6 CNT Xixón trade unionists sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison.

The "Courts of Justice" in the Spanish State have ratified the sentence that condemns six trade unionists of the CNT of Xixón to sentences of 3 and a half years in prison for their union action of support and solidarity. The support and solidarity with a fellow worker took place at the La Suiza pastry shop, where a fellow worker was being harassed by their employer and who also withheld a portion of their wages.

A spokesperson for the Industrial Workers of the World condemned the sentencing as a "deliberate attack on workplace organising by the state on workers".

"We are in a time period of increasing attacks upon workers in the workplace as well as in our communities by the establishment. They're attacking our rights obtained through years of struggle and designing new ones to strangle any form of resistance against them as they protect their profits and interests.

"Once again, the courts of the Spanish State have decided to protect the bosses and grant with impunity corporate abuse of workers. It is a deliberate attack on workplace organising by the state on workers in an effort to punish trade unionists who actively challenge them though solidarity and direct action through the legal means available to them.

"This sentence is a direct attack on the entire labour movement and therefore we call upon revolutionary syndicalists, radical trade unionists and everyone who supports social justice and the rights of workers to unionise to stand with the six CNT Xixón members. It is vital that we help defend trade union activists by calling for the Spanish State to immediately drop the charges and call an end to attacks by the State on the labour movement. We echo the call that trade unionism is not a crime!"

Below, we reproduce the CNT statement in which the circumstances of this case are explained in more detail.

Trade unionism is not a crime: For the immediate acquittal of Las Seis de La Suiza

To find the origin of the conflict we have to go back to 2017, when a worker at the La Suiza pastry shop in Gijón/Xixón turned to our union for advice and support in a situation of employer abuse and harassment, with the non-payment of around 80 overtime hours per month, the impossibility of taking vacations and excessive workloads during the worker's pregnancy, which translated into a risk of abortion that led to the corresponding medical leave. Along with all these abuses, the colleague denounced unbearable treatment by the employer, which included humiliating comments and opinions about her body.

Already with the support of CNT Xixón, the union began by trying to hold a meeting with the businessman from La Suiza to address the situation and try to resolve it through dialogue, something the employer refused.

Faced with this situation, the CNT decided to make the conflict public through the May Day rally and through social networks. As a result of this information campaign, the employer agreed to meet with the union, but refused to reach any agreement.

Thus, from CNT Xixón a series of concentrations are carried out outside the pastry shop and an information campaign on the open conflict between the company and the worker. In other words, the trade union tools available to us are used to defend the rights of the affected worker. It should be noted that all these actions are carried out firmly in defense of our colleague but without police intervention. Despite the 'normality' of the protest actions, police identifications of different CNT Xixón comrades began to take place and, finally, several arrests were made and the corresponding complaints were processed.

The consequent judicial process opens with the attempt to charge thirty people, members of the union, but also other people who had come to support the La Suiza worker. Eight people were ultimately charged.

The worker affected in the original conflict also files a complaint for sexual harassment, which is filed before the judicial justification of not having sufficient burden of proof.

Finally, the Criminal Court number 1 of Xixón/Gijón, in a sentence issued in June 2021, sentenced the eight activists prosecuted to a total of 25.3 years in prison: three and a half years in prison for 7 of them and 8 months for another, for the crimes of coercion and obstruction of justice. In addition, the sentence establishes compensation for the La Suiza pastry shop of 150,428 euros, declaring the CNT union as subsidiary civil liability.

This past spring, and after an appeal filed by the legal team of the CNT, the Superior Court of Justice of Asturias has ratified the prison sentence for six of the eight trade unionists convicted in the 'La Suiza' case.

Actions are currently being planned in parallel with a major solidarity demonstration being held in Madrid on Saturday 24th September 2022.

Please send and share solidarity messages and images of any solidarity actions to @Xixoncnt


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