Spanish wildland firefighters march to demand rights

Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights
Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights. Image from Reuters video.

On Saturday about 2,000 wildland firefighters demonstrated in Madrid for improved workers’ rights. In Spain most of them are employed by regional agencies and work for four months during the summer fire season.

They are asking for more training, that the government recognize the category of wildland firefighter, and that they take into account the risk inherent in the job.

Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights
Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights. Image from Reuters video.

“We are risking our lives for a four-month-a-year contract and earning just over 1,200 euro,” said Jesús, who said he was one of five firefighters entrapped in a fire in Almorós, in Toledo.

“I am 57 years old and I don’t know how long they are going to keep me in a forest fire or carrying a chainsaw,” said María José.

Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights
Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights. Image from Reuters video.

Reuters has video of the demonstration which appears to show hundreds of firefighters demonstrating in the street. Many of them are wearing their uniforms and in one scene a group with flappers beat them on the ground rhythmically.

Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights
Wildland firefighters in Spain demonstrate for workers rights. Image from Reuters video.

In the United States federal wildland firefighters have many of the same issues as their colleagues in Spain. But they have not yet taken to the streets.

Nine countries in Europe set records in 2022 for the total burned area since the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) began collecting wildfire data in 2006. They were Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. The difference this year compared to the 15-year average was extreme in Spain, Romania, and France.

Increasing burned area in Europe

Spain’s new record is by far the most notable with 299,635 hectares burned this year compared to an average of 66,965.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Spanish wildland firefighters march to demand rights”

  1. Striking may be illegal for feds – but other avenues could be utilized to send a shot across the bow of the legislation.

    Tim’s Act last action was introduced to ag committee on 11/3/21 in the house. Almost a year ago.

    Is it time to mass call in sick during fire season?

    “ The idea is that employees follow every rule in their handbook to the point that it significantly slows down productivity.

    “Most of what people do in the workplace is cut corners to make things work,” McCartin said. “If they stop doing that, very often, that gums up the works.”

    Air traffic controllers also used this tactic, dubbing it “operation air safety.”

    “It caused massive delays all through the country,” McCartin said.

    The appeal of both tactics is that they don’t break the law. Moreover, union leaders wouldn’t have to call for them; they could be organized from the ground up.”

    https://www.eenews.net/articles/federal-workers-wont-strike-heres-why/

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