Council workers in La Linea erected burning barricades close to the border yesterday in the latest protest over unpaid salaries.

Piles of rubber tyres were set alight next to the roundabout where vehicles turn off into the loop leading to the frontier crossing.

This was the second time within a week that fire had been used to cut traffic, but the first time that such a protest had been carried out so close to the border.

On past occasions – once eight days ago, another last year – the barricades had been built in front of the Rocamar hotel, at the entrance to La Linea.

The workers were setting the scene for a meeting of the La Linea council scheduled for yesterday evening, at which PSOE mayor Gemma Araujo was to present proposals for credit loans worth E3.3m for approval. The workers have not been paid for the three months and are owed E5.5m.

Many of them face dire circumstances, losing their properties and belonging and surviving on handouts.

“There are people here who cannot wait any longer,” said Jesús González Aragón, from leading Spanish union CCOO.

CCOO and other unions are calling for the intervention of the Junta de Andalucia in the running of La Linea’s public affairs.

“The situation is unsustainable and we cannot go on like this,” he said. As this edition went to press there was no news of the outcome of yesterday’s council meeting.

However it was expected that most, if not all of the funds to be approved would be earmarked to pay salaries.

What happens in the longer term, however, remained an unknown factor.

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