CCOO and UGT have concentrated this Wednesday in front of the headquarters of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) to demand a salary increase and warn the employers that autumn will come with strikes and demonstrations if they oppose protecting the purchasing power of Workers.
Under the motto ‘Salary or conflict’, hundreds of people have demonstrated in an act attended by the Secretary General of the CCOO, Unai Sordo, and that of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, in addition to the General Secretaries of CCOO Madrid, Paloma López , and UGT Madrid, Marina Prieto.
With the concentration of this Wednesday, the unions have continued with the campaign of mobilizations initiated at the beginning of June to stress the negotiating tables of collective agreements, after the talks for the V Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining failed ( AENC) for the “insurmountable” difference regarding the salary review clause required by the CCOO and UGT, and which the CEOE opposed. The concentrations have been repeated in numerous Spanish cities.
Sordo has announced in the act that this “sequence of mobilizations” will continue in the fall to “continue claiming that wages have to improve to guarantee purchasing power.” The unions will also continue with their strategy of “tightening the negotiation of collective agreements” because through them “wealth is distributed”.
The CCOO secretary has denounced that the companies “are passing on the increase in energy costs” and has reminded them that “they cannot only safeguard their profits without distributing them to their workers”.
“We leave with a scare in the body every time we empty the basket in the supermarket and they tell us that we pay 30% more. Companies are passing on prices to maintain their surpluses”, said Sordo.
Like Sordo, Pepe Álvarez has accused Spanish companies of transferring inflation to prices in order to “earn in one year everything they could not earn with covid.”
“They do it because they want to continue hoarding wealth for a few”, said the general secretary of the UGT, and has demanded that the employers distribute these benefits in the form of a salary increase for their workers.
“Generalize the mobilization”
Álvarez has lamented the position of the CEOE during the negotiations of the AENC, which now opposes that shown by the different sectoral employers at the negotiating tables of collective agreements.
“The CEOE has to know that we are beginning to win the wage battle, that the collective agreements that have been signed in our country in 2022, the vast majority of workers affected by these agreements have a salary review clause (. ..) and salaries above the proposals that the CEOE has made to us”, he pointed out.
For the general secretary of the UGT, these achievements have been achieved “with the struggle of the workers” and he has insisted that the unions will maintain this strategy “sector by sector, company by company” if wage increases are not achieved through the Collective negotiation.
“We must generalize the mobilization and coordinate the sectors, so that we can go to very broad conflicts in our country from September, from the fall, because it is possible, it is necessary, to share the wealth of our country”, he stressed. Alvarez.
Sordo has also appealed to the motto of this concentration, ‘Salary or conflict’, to remember that some sectors, such as metal, are signing salary increases and salary revision clauses in collective agreements “through the resources of the strike”.
“We are not going to give up on improving wages, let those who are listening to us from the CEOE be clear about it. We do not like to make strikes to do, we call to finish the negotiations for a fair and balanced wage agreement, “said the secretary general of CCOO at the event.
The unions have transferred to the negotiating tables of the collective agreements the proposals that they did not manage to close with the CEOE in the negotiation of the V AENC. CCOO and UGT request a salary increase of 3.5% for this year, 2.5% for 2023 and 2% for 2024, accompanied by a salary review clause.
Check the SMI
In addition to requesting a wage increase in collective agreements, the unions have expressed their intention to continue reviewing the Interprofessional Minimum Wage (SMI), which at the beginning of the year rose to 1,000 euros per month in 14 payments.
Álvarez has recalled the SMI must be reviewed after six months, something that becomes more urgent in the current inflation situation, with the CPI at 10.2%, according to the advance data for June.
“The sectors that have the lowest wages are the sectors that have the fewest collective agreements. The problem is where the lowest salaries are, where women and young people are, it is where it costs us the most to raise salaries”, commented the general secretary of the UGT.
From CCOO, Sordo has also defended the rise of the SMI to “guarantee that those salaries that are 1,000 euros follow the line of increase to reach 60% of the average salary next year.”