Memoriabcn

Historical walks through the 20th century Barcelona  

Sant Martí

ROUTE SITES


The site that today houses the Glòries shopping centre conserves the original structure of what was once the Hispano Olivetti typewriter factory. Workers at the factory protested to demand better working conditions and more pay on several occasions during the 1950s and 60s. These actions formed part of a wave of protests by the working-class movement, one of the most belligerent sectors in its opposition to the Franco regime.

In 1940, the company Hispano Olivetti acquired a plot at number 866, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes (then known as Avinguda de José Antonio Primo de Rivera) to build a 2,700 m2 building. In 1963, the company already had 32,000 m2 and 3,200 employees, who were very active in demanding improvements for the working classes. Working-class unrest in Francoist Spain erupted in the mid-1950s, when the regime kept salaries very low and market prices were increasingly higher given the economic openness promoted by the government. Both the workers of Hispano Olivetti and those in companies in Catalonia and Spain called for an increase in salaries through several strikes that always ended in police intervention, arrests and dismissals. In the light of this situation, the Collective Bargaining Act was approved in 1958, allowing companies and workers to negotiate working conditions and wages, with the participation of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation (the only legal union in Spain under Franco, also known as the Vertical Syndicate)as the workers' representative. In April 1962, in the mines of Asturias, a strike began that was heavily repressed by the police and which spread across Spain. In this context, on 16 May 1962, the workers of Hispano Olivetti initiated a strike to demand a daily salary of 175 pesetas and a negotiation of the labour agreement in force, signed one year earlier. The strike gave rise to many arrests and dismissals and, three days later, the workers returned to work.

On May 25, a meeting was held between the workers and the company in which the workers' demands were negotiated and the political connotations of the strike "against the regime" were condemned. As a result of these mobilisations, in September 1962, Franco enacted the Collective Disputes Law which admitted the existence of labour disputes and a distinction was made between strikes for economic reasons and those for political reasons, both of which were considered illegal. In addition, on 17 January 1963, a minimum wage was introduced. In the case of Hispano Olivetti, this led to one of the most organised workers' movements in Barcelona and the staff had a very significant presence in subsequent protests.

Address: 866, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.405808133, 2.190118464

  • Periods:
  • Second Republic
  • Civil War
  • Francoism
  • Transition
Memoriabcn