In September 2010, the CNT of Madrid started a conflict with the administration of the National Library for its illegal outsourcing of more than 400 subcontracted workers who are being repressed and fired for denouncing their casualization. Our comrades Begoña and Sara, from the Music Department, and our comrade Marta, from the Area of Institutional Relations, were the first to be repressed for informing about their irregular contracts. They had been dismissed and transfered to the offices of the INDRA company where they remain sequestered until the resolution of the court case.
At this stage of the conflict, many comrades have brought court cases concerning their situation of being illegally outsourced. There are 18 cases against the National Library for this reason, including the most recent ones of our comrades Aurora, from the General Hall, and Raquel, from Periodicals.
In the context of the vindication of labour rights, in the summer of 2011, the administration of the National Library announced a policy of mass dismissals which started with the sacking of 16 people from the Music Department. Amongst them was our comrade Lidia, fired after 9 years of work in a clear situation of illegal outsourcing. These dismissals of external staff, whose work has proved necessary for the development of the basic functions of the institution, is being translated into an absolute neglect in the duties of the National Library concerning the cataloging, preservation and distribution of the materials in its custody. It has burdened the publicly employed staff with the tasks which were performed by the outside workers who were fired. Subcontracted labour costs 40% more than if this work was carried out by somebody employed directly.
By supporting this policy of privatization and retaliations, the Director of the National Library appears as an agent of mercantile interests that has spent years trying to take over our lives, culture and heritage.
In this sense, we have made a request for solidarity for the coming 4 February, a day when the sections of the IWA-AIT will be in front of libraries in their countries against the cuts in public libraries, in solidarity with the defense of our workplaces in the National Library of Spain and for a fair allocation of the budget for the employment of staff in all the libraries in Europe. Our demand for direct permanent employment of the external staff would reverse the policies of privatization of these public institutions that house our common heritage.
The union section of the CNT-AIT Madrid has been working for the reinstatement of the dismissed comrades and for the need to organize the workers at the National Library of Spain. Since the conflict began, besides having informational pickets in solidarity with out comrades outside the doors of the National Library, there have been many workers' assemblies held in which the attendance and participation in growing. Now, what began as a demand to reinstate our comrade Marta has now turned into a struggle by a consolidated union in the National Library that, thanks to the solidarity of the rest of the comrades of the Confederation, has the respect and confidence of the workers in that institution who were at first hesitant about our anarchosyndicalist posulates. Our continuity in this struggle has allowed us to inform people about our way of organizing ourselves as equals, with the necessity to guarantee the horizontal nature of the organization of workers, with the assembly as the only center of decision making and without participating in the games of representativity and subsidies like the other unions. And it has been this long-term dissemination of our ideas that has allowed us to grow amongst the workers of the public libraries – both in terms of confidence and the number of workers ready to struggle together with their peers for their workers' rights and for a transformation of the system that we must build.
Union of National Library of Spain Staff of CNT-AIT Madrid