Huelga de Gasolineras (Vaga de benzineres)


This video documents the strike that affected a total of 280 petrol stations in the city and region of Barcelona. The piece begins as we enter the CNT/FAI (workers union) premises in Barcelona's Plaza Medinacelli. On screen, we see the strike's placcards: "Petrol station workers on strike. We are fighting for a decent salary. Against unemployment. Solidarity." We are also presented with images of pamphlets and press cuttings, and interviews with some of the members of the strike's committee.

Video-Nou approach with their cameras the functioning of the committee itself: how information circulates, the attitude of the civil governing body in the region, and the reaction of the affected oil company, Campsa. The reading of a long text by the strike's committee helps us get a better understanding of the conflict. It tells us of the employer's initial proposal, and of the rumour circulating about the company's union being CCOO (Comisiones Obreras). The committee also talk about their "macroeconomic" vision and make a call for all workers' and citizens' solidarity.

Sequences such as the one described set the rhythm and content of the video. Huelga de Gasolineras [Gas Stations Strike] is a kind of news feature that aims to actively participate in the social and political milieu of its time. This was possible by acknowledging the opportunity available to common citizens to appropriate the media of information production. In this case, Video-Nou used the ideal medium for the production of audiovisual information, video, and they worked on the creation and administration of situations of communication that involved its participants in the circularity of the communicative process. In this piece it is the protagonists of the strike who participate in Video-Nou's project.

In Gas Stations Strike we learn, among other things, that to intervene in the social communication at that time, carried the possibility of constructing, authentically, a new public space capable of deepening and intensifying the experience of democracy.

The film ends with a meeting of the workers on strike. A solicitor reads out loud the new negotiated proposal from the employer. The strikers comment on it and digress. The reading of the proposal continues. The creation of a sector of petrol station workers within the CNT union is proposed. The solicitors say that it has been CCOO who has called for "the return to work" and who has contributed to the strike's prompt interruption.

From today's perspective, this video clearly shows why Video-Nou is considered the first independent video collective in Spain. They worked within the field of social intervention and promoted the contextual use of electronic communication media.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Huelga de Gasolineras (Vaga de benzineres)
  • Direction: Video-Nou
  • Production: Video-Nou. 1977.
  • Duration: 02:23:25
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: Betacam Digital
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright