Memoriabcn

Historical walks through the 20th century Barcelona  

Sants-Montjuïc

ROUTE SITES


In 1964, Comissions Obreres, the Workers’ Commissions union, was founded in this parish church in La Bordeta neighbourhood. The establishment of this new union was a clear sign that the workers’ movement was organising in response to the lack of freedoms and harsh labour conditions imposed by the Franco regime. In 1976, an assembly convened to reconstitute the National Confederation of Labour (CNT) in Catalonia took place in this same parish church.

In Barcelona, the Comissions Obreres (CCOO, Workers’ Commissions) union was formally established in 1964 at a meeting in the parish of Sant Medir attended by 300 workers that had mobilised in previous meetings in the parish of Sant Miquel in Cornellà de Llobregat. This was made possible thanks to the emergence of core groups of permanent workers at the large metalwork factories and the formation of a new working class fuelled by waves of migration from the rest of Spain. Among the participants in the Sant Medir meeting were workers representing different production sectors. The CCOO defined themselves as a socio-political movement and not as a trade union. The goal was to bring workers together regardless of their ideology. From the outset, it showed a desire to act legally – as opposed to clandestine trade union action – while condemning the Vertical Syndicate (the only legal union in Spain during the Franco era) and to defend workers’ interests. The lack of rights held by workers was criticised and the creation of a list of demands was proposed, as was the need to call for the creation of committees across all companies.

On 29 February 1976, the parish of Sant Medir was the venue for the assembly to reinstate the National Confederation of Labour (CNT), an anarcho-syndicalist trade union founded in 1910 that had been banned during the Franco regime. At the trade union centre, which had been one of the major clandestine opposition forces in the dictatorship until the mid-1950s, from the 1970s nuclei of young and independent libertarians emerged that, together with former CNT members, made the reconstruction of the CNT possible. The Sant Medir Assembly brought together 500 people that debated several issues: organisational criteria, tactics for trade union action and the plurality of unions within the organisation. The CNT was legalised on 9 May 1977.

Both the creation of the CCOO and the reconstitution of the CNT in the parish of Sant Medir were made possible in a context of a working-class Catholicism that was a key component in the new workers’ movement that emerged in Catalonia in the mid-1950s. Working-class priests served in parishes in urban centres with a greater working-class population, while clandestine trade unions were promoted by Catholic militants. Therefore, Catholicism constituted one of the pillars of the anti-Franco opposition in Catalonia, alongside Marxism and nationalism.

Address: 17, Carrer de la Constitució || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.369831708, 2.137952194

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