Judge acquits Airbus 8, citing ‘lack of evidence’ of violence on picket line during 2010 general strike

Protest in Getafe in support of 'Airbus 8' on first day of trial. Photo: Agustín Catalán / El Periódico
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• Unions cite 300 similar cases pending under Franco-era anti-strike law •

A Spanish judge has acquitted eight union members of charges related to a melee that broke out on a picket line at the Airbus plant in Getafe during Spain’s September 2010 general strike, citing lack of evidence that any of the eight were involved in the violence that erupted when picketers attempted to stop other workers from entering the plant.

The ruling was greeting with jubilation by the workers, known as the “Airbus 8,” and by leaders of Spain’s largest labour unions as a victory in the ongoing fight to overturn Article 315.3 of Spain’s penal code, which dates to the era of former dictator Francisco Franco and criminalizes the action of anyone attempting to prohibit others from working, whether by setting up a picket line or other means.

According to labor spokespersons, there are still 300 similar cases pending in which union members face possible criminal charges and up to eight years in prison if convicted of coercing other workers to participate in work stoppages or strikes through the use of picket lines or otherwise.

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