Casa Batlló closes its doors to protect its employees, visitors and the iconic Gaudí building from vandalism
Staffpremium, one of the external companies that provides services in Casa Batlló, has had internal disagreements with some of its workers, who have started an indefinite period strike. The most violent strikers have caused irreparable damage to World Heritage, attacked Casa Batlló employees and threatened its visitors.
Barcelona October 28 – Casa Batlló has decided to close its doors on October 29 due to the escalation of tension caused by some striking workers from the Staffpremium company, and the militants and sympathizers of the union that has called it. Some workers from Staffpremium, a company outside Casa Batlló that provides services in this World Heritage Site, began a strike on October 8 and, since then, have organized different protests in front of the monument.
Assaults on employees and attacks on World Heritage
Since the start of the strike, Casa Batlló has suffered threats, defamations, attacks and constant grievances against its employees, visitors and against World Heritage itself. More than a dozen protesters supported by the union, periodically gather in front of the Casa Batlló facade with many banners and using megaphones and whistles at a volume harmful to health, harassing the visitor and causing two employees from Casa Batlló to require medical assistance for hearing problems. One of them, affected by tinnitus and with hearing loss, continues with medical treatment.
The escalation of tension reached its highest point last Saturday, October 24 at approximately 8:00 p.m., when a revolt was generated in front of the facade. A group of hooded protesters threw stones at the iconic building, breaking part of the original 1906 windows, recently restored, causing irreversible damage to this component of the Works of Antoni Gaudí protected by the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. In parallel, other protesters with flares and firecrackers attacked the street furniture and visitors.
According to Gary Gautier, Director of Casa Batlló: “We closed because the conditions do not exist to guarantee the safety of employees, visitors and our World Heritage on public roads, despite having hired private security personnel for their protection. We closed to protect ourselves from physical attacks and to protect a building that beyond a business is a world heritage site «
Siege visitors using fear of COVID-19
Repeatedly, protesters have used the COVID-19 pandemic and alarm situation to instill fear and mistrust among visitors to Casa Batlló, spreading that the monument is not a safe place, and causing an avalanche of cancellations and claims from visitors. All this despite the implementation of innovative hygiene measures that have received the praise of different national and international heritage institutions that have collaborated in their implementation, such as ICOM, ICOMOS, the Department of Culture of the Generalitat and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.
Visitors have also been besieged by groups of protesters who have gone into Casa Batlló, interrupting concerts and causing noise to deliberately impair the cultural visit and the visitor’s experience.
Defamation against the image of Casa Batlló
The actions carried out by the members of the union continually undermine the image of the entity. In their public communications, they allege that the Staffpremium workers belong to Casa Batlló when it is an outsourced company. On the other hand, they have accused Casa Batlló of supplanting the striking staff, when the entity opened its doors only with the staff that did not support it.
Casa Batlló regrets to announce that will close its doors temporarily to preserve the safety of the Heritage, and its workers and visitors.