The UGT and CC OO unions have demanded this Sunday the unlocking of collective bargaining to deal with high inflation rates and have threatened to “raise tension” if the business organizations, CEOE and Cepyme, continue not to accept the incorporation of clauses salaries. “We got out of the pandemic crisis thanks to co-responsibility and now that co-responsibility is conspicuous by its absence. It cannot be that companies save their profits and that workers lose purchasing power again”, lamented the general secretary of CC OO, Unai Sordo. For his part, Pepe Álvarez, leader of the UGT, has celebrated the effects of the labor reform on employment and has demanded that the dismissal be reconfigured to avoid that “you can continue to be dismissed for anything”.
50,000 people, according to the organizers, around 10,000 according to the calculations of the Government Delegation, have demonstrated for May Day, International Workers’ Day, in the streets of Madrid under a scorching sun. Throughout the national territory there have been more than sixty marches, and they have mobilized half a million people, according to the convening unions. At the head of the Madrid demonstration, in addition to the leaders of the UGT and CC OO, very representative figures of the Government have been present, such as the Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz; the spokesperson and Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez; the Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, and the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón. Along with them, figures from Madrid politics have also attended, such as Mónica García, from Más Madrid ―who has been supported by the deputy of this formation in Congress, Iñigo Errejón―; and Juan Lobato, Secretary General of the Socialists in Madrid.
Minutes before the concentration began, Díaz announced that in the “next few days” a commission of experts will be formed to launch what he has called a “great reform of labor law”; and that in a period of “few weeks” an “institutional participation law” will also be discussed with the social agents, with the aim of “continuing to improve people’s lives”. This reform that is being worked on has as its primary objective, in the words of the vice president, the elaboration of a “21st century Workers’ Statute”, and leave behind the “authoritarian overtones” of the current one.
The Minister of Labor has also welcomed the social achievements agreed in recent months. “We have raised the minimum interprofessional salary (SMI) by 36%; we have passed equal pay laws for women workers in our country; we have made laws for the vulnerable”, she recalled. “This effort by the Government in coalition was worth it, the struggle, the vindication of each May Day, fighting the cuts and the setbacks of the right,” added the minister spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Both at the beginning of the march in Madrid, which started from the Gran Vía to Plaza de España, and at the end, trade unionists and politicians have had words of solidarity for the Ukrainian people, besieged for more than two months by the Government Vladimir Putin’s Russian. “Today is a day of international struggle and our memory must first go to the workers of Ukraine and their trade union organizations, who first suffered the persecution of their ultra-liberal government, and now the bombs of Putin”, Álvarez stated.
“The claims have only just begun”, warned the general secretaries of the UGT and CC OO. “If there is no agreement [de negociación colectiva], the conflict in our country is served”, Álvarez said at the closing of the demonstration. “As everyone knows, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (AENC) is blocked. And if it is not unblocked, the unions will carry out a process of growing mobilization around the negotiation of the agreements”, said Sordo, who has also warned of the danger of the entry of parties such as Vox into the institutions. “We must unmask those who send messages to workers and vote against the rise in the SMI, the revaluation of pensions and the labor reform. We must recover a social contract for the 21st century as a way to oppose neo-fascism ”, he has riveted.
“Next to the workers”
In Barcelona, thousands of demonstrators have marched along Via Laietana, from Plaza de Urquinaona. In other cities such as Girona and Lleida, the majority unions have also taken to the streets behind the banner: The solution: raise wages, contain prices, put an end to inequalities.
The leader of UGT Catalonia, Camil Ros, was pleased to celebrate the day “in better conditions”, thus recalling the approval of the labor reform that was agreed with the employers. However, both he and his CC OO counterpart, Javier Pacheco, have urged that the new calculation of the salary increase be made taking into account the CPI. With this formula, they have defended, it is not the workers who pay for the “broken chain” of the crisis unleashed by the increase in inflation. Pacheco has referred to the long dispute between the Catalan Executive and the educational sector and has described the Government as “superb” for not agreeing with the educational community on changes of significance such as the reform of the school calendar.
The head of the opposition in Catalonia, the socialist Salvador Illa, has also participated in the demonstration and has raised the chest of the rise in the minimum wage and the labor reform. “It is time to remember who is on the side of the workers and who is not”, he continued, in a clear attack on ERC, which did not want to support the tweaks in the labor regulations that the PP had approved in its day and whose modification it considered insufficient .
From the republican ranks, the deputy in the Parliament and former head of the Department of Labor, Chakir El Homrani, has responded. “It is clear that parliamentary majorities are needed [para defender los derechos de los trabajadores]. But it is necessary that fundamental rights are not violated, such as political participation and mobilization, the right to private communications or the right of assembly”, he said in reference to the espionage scandal against independentists through the Pegasus software that Canadian investigators denounce. from the Citizen Lab.