Spanish cinemas on strike

Spanish Cinemas are closed today due in protest over new law

The Spanish Federation of Cinemas (FECE), which includes 90% of all cinemas in Spain, has called on its members to strike for 24 hours in protest over the proposed new Cinema law. The Managing Director FECE, Rafael Alvero, has accused the government of failing to negotiate with his organisation which is why the decision to strike today was taken. He also said it was just the first measure they would be taking in order to get their point across.

Last week Rafael Alvero said that FECE had spoken to nearly all the political groups in the Spanish parliament except for PSOE given that the period for amending the proposed law before it was passed finishes next week. In fact he said that today’s strike was a call for Spanish cinemas not to be forgotten by politicians.

As well as the strike Spanish cinemas have prepared some advertisements to publicise the problems they face which will be screened in cinemas through out the country.

According to Alvero their tone is quite belligerent given the present situation which clearly favours the production sector.

The main demands of the FECE are that the quota for screening a film are reduced, competition is regulated, cinemas have the rights to screen a film for six months and that more efforts are made to combat piracy.

The last time that Spanish cinemas went on strike was in 1993 in another protest over the law governing cinemas and as far as Alvero is concerned they are facing the same battle today although he also admitted that perhaps the number of spectators had gone down partly due to a possible excess of cinema screens in Spain. However, he said that this was another matter not directly related to the proposed Cinema law.

Today’s strike is estimated to cost cinemas almost one million euros in lost ticket sales – cinemas are free to decide whether to participate or not