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Kingdom of Spain: The trade union movement and the new government

The fall of the PP government represents an opportunity to initiate a political and social turn, a turn that will not depend on alliances or parliamentary majorities but on pressure and mobilization. The confluence of numerous and varied political forces allowed to throw to Rajoy, but the common interests can have very little route. We must bear in mind that there has been a cold change, without even the parliamentary level being the result of a social shift towards the left. The government of Pedro Sánchez has generated illusions, but its composition leaves much to be desired regarding the measures it can take to respond to the serious problems that have accumulated in the years in which the PP has governed. That is why it is so important for the trade union movement, as for all movements, to set the demands before the new government from the beginning.

There are many hard grievances accumulated from the years in which he governed the PP: labor reform, Gag Law, with more than 300 trade unionists prosecuted for exercising the right to strike or demonstration, pension cuts, a salary decrease never seen, rampant precariousness, etc. . Each and every one of those problems must be present in the pressure and mobilization for the new government to respond.

The union leaderships have already begun to take position. In a statement, UGT “reminds the Government that it must address in a short time the major problems that are within its competence, such as the revaluation of pensions, the sustainability of the Social Security system, the recovery of the Toledo Pact, and combating the blights generated in the labor market by the reforms of 2010 and 2012, which have generalized precariousness, low wages, and the number of working poor. Some measures should be addressed as a matter of priority because they can not wait, such as the repeal of the Gag Law -to end censorship-, without forgetting the repeal of the pension reform or the labor reform, which is a key element for solve many of the problems and imbalances of the labor market “. On June 6, at an assembly of ugetistas in Aranjuez, Secretary General Pepe Álvarez declared that “what we are not able to win on the street, it will be difficult for anyone to give it to us.” The next day, in an interview in El Economista, he said that “UGT is not going to give a blank check to Sánchez or anyone else.”

The Executive Commission of CCOO approved a resolution in which it states that “With the constitution of the new Government, a new stage will begin which, on the one hand, generates great expectations for all those who long for a social shift in government action and , on the other, it will be complex to manage. […] In fact, the commitment of Pedro Sánchez with the PGE of the PP and with the terms of the Stability Plan for Spain (2018-2021), which is understandable from the point of view of the political emergency, presages few changes in the economic policy. Recall that the commitment to reach a surplus of 0.1% in 2021 by reducing public spending to 38% of GDP, involves a whole program of adjustment. We said that these budgets are those of resignation and we keep it. ” CCOO demands “Address substantial changes in labor market legislation, pensions, dependency, equal pay, health and safety at work, etc.”.

In Galicia, the CIG (Confederación Intersindical Galega), which had called a general strike in Galicia on June 19, has decided to suspend it and turn it into a day of mobilization with demonstrations in 14 cities of Galicia, to give the new government a certain margin and demand “a real recovery of rights in the coming months.”

As the important thing is the facts and not the words, we must be attentive to the decisions of the government and the union response. For the time being, the demonstrations organized by CCOO and UGT for June 16 to demand more equality, more salaries and more collective bargaining are being maintained. It will be the mobilization that can turn illusions into concrete political events.

Pressure and more pressure

In recent months the trend of mobilization is going up. It is still limited, but it affects different sectors and territories and covers conflicts of various kinds. For example, the fight against precariousness, which has affected logistics centers of Amazon and H & M; to the so-called false false self-employed companies such as Deliveroo; to the monitors and monitors of schools that were concentrated before the Junta de Andalucía to demand continuity and full-time work; to those of educational leisure of Madrid protesting by the outsourcing, or to the templates of elevators and elevators of Madrid. Or those who have gone on strike for the agreement, as in the Málaga metro, or the cleaners and cleaners of Palencia, or the subcontractors in Toledo of the Airbus company. Also those who have had to go out to the streets to defend their jobs as the indefinite strike of the Cooperativa Avícola y Ganadera de Burgos. And follow the actions of protests, that already last months, of the and the pensioners who have not been satisfied with the announcement of increase of their pensions in the General Budgets.

Workers of the Post Office in struggle

These are just some examples that express this positive trend and that has had its greatest expression in recent weeks in the mobilization of the Post office on June 7. It stopped 80% of the workforce and in the 60 concentrations and demonstrations around 30,000 people took to the streets. It was protested by the cut of the budget items of 180 million euros in financing for the provision of the public postal service in 2017 and 2018, and demanded a business plan that allows the expansion in the parcel, the e-commerce and that Allow it to exit the deficit figures of 225 million euros (2017-2018). The public postal company has almost been quietly dismantled, 15,000 structural posts have been eliminated in the last decade, and an employment model based on eventuality has been imposed (35% of the workforce), part-time work (22% of the template), and day and hour contracts. Low-cost employment and increasingly precarious working conditions and an agreement that has been frozen for four years. The unions denounce that the reduction of staff and the abolition of offices will leave millions of people without service and that the rights of citizens to the postal public service are being dismantled, with the disappearance of thousands of postmen and portfolios without the political powers being doing nothing to prevent it, rather, for the successive governments of the PP that was his goal.

If the new government does not take urgent decisions, the unions will maintain the mobilization calendar: regional concentrations in June and three days of total strike in the last quarter.

Strike in the metal sector of Cádiz

Work-related accidents continue to be one of the main problems in companies. The precariousness of hiring and the lack of control and resources is a serious risk for the working class. The statistics are still chilling. From April 2016 to March 2017 there were 492,347 occupational accidents; between April 2017 and March 2018, 495.347. Fatal accidents dropped from 496 to 475, but serious accidents continued to rise, from 3,636 to 3,742.

On May 18, in a contract in the shipyards of the Bay of Cádiz, two workers, named Daniel and José Luis, lost their lives. There was immediate reaction among the workers in the area. On May 21 they gathered at the doors of the companies. A massive and emotional assembly decided a 24-hour strike in solidarity with the compañeros and their families and demanded urgent measures against labor precariousness and control of occupational health. The turmoil spread and on June 13 a general metal strike was held in the Bay of Cádiz.

It is a sign of the existing malaise, of the need for reaction and that we must change the laws that lead to accidents in companies, which focus on three aspects: repeal the labor reform, measures to drastically reduce precariousness and measures for the control of occupational health by trade unions and works councils.

On the offensive

The change of government is the occasion to put into practice the slogan that some unions have been defending: On the offensive! The objectives are quite clear: recover rights, repeal the anti-union and anti-union laws of the PP, recover wages and employment. Undoubtedly, to achieve this we must take into account the correlation of parliamentary forces that, said in advance, does not seem majoritarian, for example, to repeal the labor reform (the PNV abstained and the PDCat voted in favor) But, of the same way that it seemed difficult to throw Rajoy, the situation can change if the pressure in the street grows, if the offensive comes true.

In an article published for May 1 we said: “Facing the dilemma” or distribution or conflict “there is a certainty: without conflict there will be no distribution. Does anyone believe that without an impressive level of mobilization it will be possible to reverse the shameful inequality suffered by the majority of the population? […] The conclusion should be obvious: we must dedicate more time to organize and prepare the mobilization “.

It also serves for negotiations with the Employer of a salary increase agreement. According to statements by CCOO general secretary, Unai Sordo, “the employers are telling us that while dividends are increasing 17,000 million and profits are 36,000 million, and 80% of SMEs are in benefits, wages must continue to lose power purchasing. And since this is intolerable, we will not tolerate it. ” The employer seems to be enrolled in a salary increase of around 2%, while the unions demand 3% and that the agreements include a minimum wage of 1,000 euros per month.

We must seize the political moment. If the PP has been able to be thrown out, the new government can be pressured and the Employers change their minds. Many political forces united their votes to end the Rajoy nightmare. You can join many union, social, political forces to press, change laws and improve the lives and work of millions of people. There is an answer: Let’s go on the offensive!

SOURCE: http://www.sinpermiso.info/textos/reino-de-espana-el-movimiento-sindical-ante-el-nuevo-gobierno

TRANSLATED BY Charles Rosa

 

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