Thousands of women take to the streets of Gasteiz in solidarity with the workers from the Residencias de Bizkaia

Sep 25, 2017
Thousands of women, convened by ELA, took to the streets in Gasteiz to show their solidarity for the workers from the Residencias de Bizkaia; the action has been extensively backed by the feminist movement. Under the slogan 'Zaintzaileak zainduz, bizitzak zaindu! Neither natural carer, nor worker to be exploited', these women have wanted to make it clear that this is not just a labour conflict, but it is also a feminist, social and political conflict.

The demonstration joined the Plaza de los Desamparados and the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, where an event was held. The person in charge of equality, Leire Txakartegi, showed her solidarity for these women who have been on strike for over 300 days. “You are not alone! We are here with you. Your fight is the fight faced by all women: cleaners, chambermaids, home helps, dining room workers, public sector workers, domestic workers, the few who work in the industrial sector…. You represent us all. And we are very proud of you!”

In Txakartegi’s opinion, there is a great deal at risk. “In the current model, care work is taken on by women, both in the private and the public sectors, with low quality jobs and employment insecurity. The economic and social value this work has is not acknowledged and it has become a source of business for many companies operating in the sector. What we want to achieve with this strike is to bring dignity to these jobs, for them to be given the value they should have socially, that they should be given in decent working conditions, therefore, improving the quality of the service itself”.

Esther Saavedra, who is in charge of public services has denounced that there is just one reason that this conflict has gone on for so long: the workers who are on strike are women. “We are many women and once again, job insecurity is printed on our faces. Because for some we are only the second salary being brought into our homes; we are not professionals, but rather we take on our natural role, which is none other than looking after and caring for others. For them, we have neither criteria nor capacity to decide about our future, rather we are puppets in the hands of the trade union that is at our side in this fight; for some, we just clean “four dirty behinds” and they consider that if we claim any rights, it is to be able to take on our women’s work with greater ease, such as taking our children to school, for example”.

Within this context, Saavedra has harshly denounced the attitude of both the Provincial Government of Bizkaia and that of the employers, who are responsible for this conflict. “We demand that they change the root of the attitude that they have held until now in order to resolve the conflict as soon as possible. We are very clear about this: we will continue fighting until we achieve our goals”.