Tubacex workers ask to stop the strike after seven months of conflict

15/09/2021 – 19:33

The labor dispute in the Basque Tubacex plants, which has been going on for more than seven months in a situation of indefinite strike, is beginning to show the first signs of exhaustion among the workforce.

About 200 workers have asked the works council – through a statement – for a vote to decide on the continuation of the inactivity, which they ask that it be carried out in secret and not by show of hands as is customary.

To carry out this assembly, support signatures are being collected, since the 178 current workers who support this vote are not enough. It would be necessary to have 33% of the staff to have legitimacy to propose an assembly or vote

Void layoffs

The strike at the TTI and Aceralava factories was called last February after the announcement of an employment adjustment, which resulted in an ERE for 129 people from those two plants.

The Superior Court of Justice of the Basque Country annulled the file, since the management cited structural reasons for its adoption and not because of the coronavirus crisis. Tubacex has had to reinstate the dismissed workers, which has not meant the end of the mobilizations.

After different offers to reach agreements, the conflict is even more entrenched if possible and the positions on both sides seem immovable.

Last week the negotiation on the new temporary employment regulation file (Erte) until the end of the year, raised by the management, ended without agreement.

Faced with this situation, the Basque pipe manufacturer launched an injunction against the works council: withdraw the appeal before the Supreme Court for the sentences that declared the dismissals null and void, in exchange for a prior and signed agreement on “a structural solution that guarantees the viability of plants in the future “.

The main concern of Tubacex lies in the loss of competitiveness of the factories and of the confidence of the clients that the indefinite strike implies. For this reason, his proposal consists of resuming the initial plan proposed a year ago of adjustments and cuts and calling off the stops immediately.

So far his request has not been seconded, but the truth is that the lack of a unanimous position among the unions on whether or not to go ahead with the strike tips the balance slightly in his favor.

Tubacex, with plants in Spain, Austria, Italy, the United States, India and Thailand, as well as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Norway, Canada and Singapore through Grupo NTS, announced in July 2020 the global cost reduction of 20% of personnel, more than 500 jobs, 150 of them in the Basque plants out of a workforce of 800 workers.

This cut in Euskadi sought a saving to the balance of 10 million euros.

Tubacex lost 23.3 million in the first half of this year and recorded a drop in sales of 43.3%, which were 160 million compared to 282 million in the same period of 2020. Gross operating profit (ebitda) stood at 0.3 million. The company maintains 190 million in cash and a liquidity position of 220 million. Its net financial debt # is 338.5 million.

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