Council workers in La Linea blocked the border for the second day running yesterday and vowed to intensify their protests over unpaid salaries.
Around 300 workers marched from the Palacio de Congresos, where the town council is housed, to the border and stopped all traffic moving to and from Gibraltar for around 30 minutes.
One group broke off and entered the border precinct and set up a picket line near the Guardia Civil checkpoint, in effect blocking the exit from Gibraltar into Spain.
There was a significant police presence – at least 12 Policia Nacional officers, as well as a handful of Policia Local – but no trouble. The officers set up cordons but did not use force to prevent the workers from carrying out their protest.
The tailback of cars in Spain stretched all the way to the entrance to the Cepsa refinery beyond Campamento. In Gibraltar, vehicles rapidly filled the loop.
The mood amongst some of the workers was fiery.
The 800-strong municipal workforce is owed E5m in unpaid salaries and La Linea’s cash-strapped council is clearly unable to meet the payments.
For months the workers have been calling on the Junta de Andalucia to intervene.
“But none of these politicians want to know,” said Jose Porras Naranjo, provincial secretary for leading Spanish union UGT. “They all look the other way.”
It was clear yesterday that the situation was starting to take its toll.
The daily protests had been relatively low key and poorly attended over the summer, but numbers are growing daily.
“Things are really bad and there are many of us who cannot pay for food, let alone anything else,” said one worker, who didn’t want to be named.