Doing the MATH

29 Sep

A strike against the general truth


ACCORDING TO the police there were 40,000; the unions insist 500,000 protesters attended a demonstration that concluded in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol during the 29 September general strike in Spain. Who to believe? Bearing in mind that 500,000 would be more or less the entire population of Marbella in peak season… certainly not the unions.

For an accurate indication we need to consider the results of a digital analysis by Lynce, a company that calculates the number of people attending a demonstration, or other mass gathering of people, by taking both fixed and moving computer images. This analysis is based on measuring groups of people “person by person”, rather than offering an estimate.

For the Madrid demonstration they calculated a figure of 17,228 which, taking into account the 15 per cent margin of error (rising) could have been as high as 19,812.

Other examples of how organisers of mass gatherings insult our intelligence…

During a demonstrator by protesters during the public servants’ general strike in Madrid on 8 June, the corresponding figures were:-

Organisers: 75,000 participants

El País newspaper: 15,250

Police: 8,000

Lynce: 6,900-7,300 (partly based on estimates on this occasion because rain meant many people were holding umbrellas, thus impeding an accurate calculation)

For a mass presided over by Pope Benedict XVI before the “multitudes” in Fátima on 3 May this year, the figures were even more illuminating:

Organisers: 500,000

Lynce: 35,000-40,000

As for the general strike itself… as members of a union ourselves, we at appreciate the historic importance of unionism, and its ongoing value in industrial relations… in certain cases, for certain workers and always on an absolutely voluntary basis.

We fully support unions’ right to strike, following the correct institutional procedures, including honouring so-called “minimum services” in key industries and services.

It is just a shame – once again demonstrated by intimidatory picketing around Spain – that not all unionists show the same respect for other workers’ rights not to strike, especially in the midst of a crisis when every euro lost can have such a negative impact on the family budget.

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