spainstrike.jpg  Part of the Demonstration in Spain Yesterday Spanish teachers took to the streets in their thousands yesterday to join other public sector workers protesting against cuts Zapatero's government has introduced an average 5% pay cut for all public sector workers starting this month and pay will be frozen in 2011. For teachers who are already comparatively poorly paid compared to their Western European colleagues the average pay cut is beetween 5.5% and 7.5%. In addition the Zapatero government has broken the link between pensions and inflation meaning increasing poverty for older people. There are also plans to weaken the government's employment laws. Spain has the highest unemployment in the European Union with youth unemployment running at 40%. If the government goes ahead with this the unions are planning a general strike.Education International has issued a statement supporting the Spanish teachers http://http://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/show.php?id=1273&theme=rights&country=spain  The leader of one teachers' union Carlos Lopez Cortina is quoted in the EI report: “the government proposal cannot be considered as a solution to the crisis, since the ones responsible for the crisis will not have to bear the weight of the effects. However, the workers who didn't cause the crisis are paying the price.” The same thing is happening all over Europe (see previous posts) with governments saying there is no alternative to cutting public spending while leaving generous tax regimes for those who have been profiting from the banking boom which caused the crisis in the first place. Teachers in the UK have already signalled that they will take action against cuts and German public sector workers are also talking about strikes against the government's austerity measures. There is also ongoing action in many eastern European countries such as Romania and actions are continuing in Greece and Italy. As one Spanish striker said: 'this isn't just about our pay and conditions it is about welfare and public services for the poorest people in society.'