The economic crisis which began in 2008 hit Spain harder than any other country in the European Union. They set eurozone records in 2011 with 21.3% unemployment and 43.5% youth unemployment. In an attempt to put a stop to the rapid collapse of the Spanish economy, the government passed sweeping employment changes in 2010. These changes made it easier for employers to hire and fire workers and increased the retirement age from 65 to 67.
Spain experienced an economic downturn in the early 1990s due to the global recession that affected it and many other countries. In 1993, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) won the national elections for the fourth straight time, having begun its rule with the 1982 election. However, the party, led by Felipe Gonzalez, lost more popularity with each of the elections and alienated a substantial part of the working class. Gonzalez was accused of moving to the right, failing to create jobs, and putting business interests ahead of the workers.
The Asturian strikes that occurred in the summer of 1963 were the second major challenge to the Franco dictatorship over the span of one year. The first challenge had occurred in the spring of 1962 (see “Spanish coal miners challenge Franco dictatorship, 1962”). As with the strikes in 1962, the 1963 strikes began in the privately owned mines of Asturias during the last week of July 1963. In total, the miners’ executed their strike for 60 days, finally stopping the strike at the end of September. By the end about 40,000 to 50,000 workers had participated in the campaign.