Babysitter grandparents urged to strike
By Bruno Waterfield, The Daily Telegraph September 27, 2010 9:02 AM Be the first to post a comment
Spain's "babysitter" grandparents have been called on to take part in a general strike against budget cuts.
Spanish grandparents, who give a significant, unpaid boost to Spain's economy by providing free childcare for their grandchildren, have been called on to join demonstrations on Wednesday.
Manuel Pastrana, the Andalusian leader of the UGT general workers' trade union, the country's biggest, said: "We want grandparents to strike to prove they are a key part of the way this country functions."
The Spanish general strike, which is expected to bring millions on to the streets, follows massive protests in France last week.
Half of all Spanish grandparents look after their grandchildren every day and one in eight provides unpaid childcare for more than nine hours a day.
"It is a growing problem because grandparents are cheaper than childminders and they are an easy option when the economy is as bad as it is now," said Dr Jaime Rodri-guez, of Spain's Society of Gerontology.
It is estimated that Britain's 14?million-strong army of grandfathers and grandmothers provides childcare worth almost pounds 4?billion to the economy every year.
The call to strike in Spain is partly a response to the European Commission tabling new measures giving it control of austerity programs, thus taking cuts out of the hands of elected politicians, who it believes are too easily swayed by popular pressure.
In order to stop governments caving in to voters, the EU plans would require national treasuries to deposit billions of euros in Brussels.
The cash would be forfeited if the government failed to convince the EU it was carrying out the austerity measures required to reduce public spending to levels set in Brussels."What we want is a system that's more rules-based and has less room for political discretion," said a Commission spokesman.
On Friday, the Spanish government approved an austerity budget that included a 7.7 per cent spending cuts, in a bid to meet EU requirements that it cut its annual budget deficit from more than 11 per cent of GDP to six per cent next year.
Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Babysitter+grandparents+urged+strike/3585148/story.html#ixzz10ks86kyd