Tubacex workers will return to their jobs this Tuesday, October 5 at 06:00. This has been confirmed by the Deputy Minister of Labor of the Basque Government Elena Pérez Barredo minutes before signing the agreement that ends a strike that has chained a total of 235 days. The signing of the agreement took place this Monday around 2:00 p.m. at the headquarters of the Basque Government in Bilbao. Despite the anticipation of the event, the signing was carried out behind closed doors and without the presence of the media.
Uncertainty, hope and workers’ struggle: this is a day with the Tubacex workers after more than 90 on strike
“After almost eight months of strike this committee has achieved what was proposed from the beginning, which is the withdrawal of all the dismissals that were on the table and we are happy to have achieved that agreement that ends the conflict,” he explained the chairman of the Tubacex committee, Eduardo Ibernia upon signing the agreement.
Despite having avoided the layoffs, Ibernia has stressed that they understand that “there have been many opportunities to resolve the conflict before, both on the part of the Basque Government and on the part of the company, it has not been possible” for that reason they have considered out of place to carry out the signature before the cameras and at the headquarters of the Government. Despite this, he explained that “it is an agreement that is an example of workers’ struggle, an example of the path that strikes have and of how an appeal from the Supreme Court can be overthrown, which I believe has not been able to date. nobody to do it “, has pointed Ibernia.
For his part, Celes Denis, director of the Alava plants on behalf of the Tubacex management has indicated that the agreement is “satisfactory” and allows “to gain the necessary competence to implement our strategic plan, thus face the energy transition and position Alava plants for the future “.
The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security, who has also been present during the signing of the agreement, has stressed that “it is an important day not only for the workers of the Tubacex company but also for the entire industry and for the entire region because The conflict ends with some commitments that are halfway between what the company wanted and what the workers of Tubacex defended, “said the deputy minister. The event was also attended by the Second Vice-Lehendakari and Minister of Labor and Employment of the Basque Government, Idoia Mendia, who has not made any appearance before the media present there.
The Tubacex committee announced on Monday its decision to accept the proposal of the Basque Government that ends the labor dispute that accumulates more than 230 days of strike. This has been communicated after the last meeting held through a letter in which he has assured that the decision has been taken by “the majority of the committee after ratification in the various assemblies of affiliates and affiliates.” “This has already been transmitted to the Department of Labor so we are waiting to be summoned to proceed with the signature. Until the agreement is signed, the current strike situation will continue,” they have confirmed from the committee of the company.
Last Friday, the members of the different unions that are part of the works council voted whether or not to accept the proposal. The union section of ELA and CCOO supported the agreement (7). However, STAT, LAB and ATAL (6) voted against. In the case of STAT, despite the fact that its union representatives voted in favor of the agreement within the works council, the members decided to vote against the proposal. CCOO affiliates, for their part, mostly backed the deal. 67% voted in favor of it. However, the union section of CCOO promised to propose to the works council to carry out a vote of the workforce since their commitment, as announced, was to accept the agreement when it was accepted by a “large majority”.
Finally, the workforce has not taken any vote and the works council has decided to transfer acceptance of the deal to the Labor Department of the Basque Government. “The ELA and CCOO unions, once their affiliations have been consulted and accepting it as sufficient, ratify their acceptance of the pre-agreement. We remain at the expense of Lakua’s call for the signing of the agreement. The majorities in the committee have not allowed a single vote nor an assembly. The LAB union continues to maintain that the agreement is insufficient and that is why we are not going to sign, “sources from the LAB union point out to this newspaper. From the CCOO union they have affirmed that despite not going ahead their proposal to vote the decision among the entire workforce “they will endorse” the agreement of the Basque Government since “it enables a solution to the conflict without traumatic exits”.
No layoffs, but with frozen wages
The signed agreement does not contemplate layoffs, but includes not renewing the collective agreement at least until the end of 2024, that is, keeping wages frozen for the next three years, and an increase in the working day of 40 hours per year that would go from 1,656 hours to 1,696 hours a year, in addition to calling off the indefinite strike. Of course, the appeals to the Supreme Court of the ERE sentences are withdrawn, one of the battles for which the unions have continued to protest in recent months given the firm decision of the management not to back down.
The unions opposing the agreement are based on the fact that their salaries will be frozen “for practically four years” since “there is no guarantee that in 2025 the lost purchasing power will be recovered.” However, from the ELA union they trust that the measures proposed by the company “are for the next 3 years” so that at the end of them “all rights will be fully recovered.” Even so, they agree with their colleagues that the proposal to increase the working day is an “evident contradiction, because we do not see it compatible to present the ERTE and propose an increase in the working day.”