In the new Law on the University System (LOSU) that the PSoE-Podemos majority wants to pass by 2023, the Spanish government intends to introduce “the subjective right” to an academic strike, thus fulfilling a historical demand in a country where student unions are a deeply rooted and active phenomenon.
According to statements from the Ministry of Universities, the law will require universities to do something only a few of them have envisioned so far: to establish protocols that will allow Student Councils to call for strikes which would put a stop to academic activity. In order to be considered legal, the strikes will have to be called by a student representative body recognized by the other party and with a certain period of notice.
At the end of a meeting held on Wednesday with Minister Joan Subirats, the representatives of the two major state student union confederations (CREUP and CEUNE) expressed their satisfaction at the promise of “the recognition of strikes as a student right” and “the guarantee of the protection of the right to demonstrate,” saying that absences from classes for these reasons would no longer be penalized, as is currently the case.
Now the student organizations are calling for the text of the bill to also include provisions aimed at increasing student representation in academic bodies and student participation in the management of universities, and hope that the measure will pass through the parliamentary approval process unscathed. That was not the case, for instance, with the reform of the Law on University Coexistence, which dates back to the Franco dictatorship; during the debate process, the text was made even worse by the approval of certain amendments, and as a result, the student unions decided to withdraw their support for the measure.