This morning in Barakaldo, on the outskirts of Bilbao, a 53-year-old woman threw herself from the balcony of her fourth floor apartment. The emergency services were called but they could do nothing.
She had just received an eviction notice and was ordered to leave her home as soon as possible. Unable to cope with the situation she took this desperate step. In the last three weeks two other people in Spain have committed suicide for the same reasons.
Many families threatened with eviction have taken part in demonstrations against those who they say caused the current hardship: the banks. Dozens of people camped for several weeks in front of the Bankia headquarters in Madrid to demand the cancellation of debt. Families evicted from their homes after the housing bubble burst are still being asked repay their loans; it is a situation that many people find impossible.
Associations such as Stop Desahucios ! (stop the expulsions !) also provide support and assistance to families and individuals at risk. Some evictions have been prevented by the actions of these protesters.
According to figures provided by the General Council of the Judiciary (Consejo General del Poder Judicial de España), almost 400,000 eviction notices were served across the country between 2006 and 2011 and the pace of expulsions has increased again this year. Every day almost 500 families are evicted. The plight of the labour market, with unemployment rising to over 25% does nothing to stop these evictions.
Thousands of people have been laid off by companies facing serious financial difficulties. This morning, the national airline Iberia announced a comprehensive restructuring plan meaning that more than 4,500 employees are due to lose their jobs.
El País, Spain’s first newspaper, is also in a critical situation. Last October, the newspaper’s management announced mass redundancies dismissing more than a third of its employees, more than 130 people. For three days, 80% of the company’s employees are on strike protesting against the measure. To justify the move, the paper says it is on target to lose between two and three million euros this year.