MADRID – On Labour Day, the trade unions Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and UGT organised more than 70 demonstrations in Spain to demand that wages go up.
The motto of the protests was ‘Wages rises, price falls, profit sharing’. The unions want wages to grow in line with inflation to protect the purchasing power of the working class. They also advocate a fair distribution of company profits among their employees.
In Madrid, the demonstration started at 12.00 noon from Gran Vía and ended in Plaza de España. The presidents of CCOO and UGT, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez, were present, as well as other politicians such as Yolanda Díaz, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumption, and Irene Montero, Minister of Equality.
Possibly more mobilisations in the near future
The protests come in a context of tension with the employers’ organisation CEOE over the stalling of negotiations on the V Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC). However, if no deal is reached this month, unions are warning of more mobilisations in the coming months. According to Unai Sordo, CCOO’s general secretary, an agreement must be reached by May or conflict is guaranteed in the fall.
In addition to higher wages and a fair distribution of profits, the unions have further demands, such as tax instruments to provide additional financial support to households in need and the review of severance costs. CSIF, another trade union, has also manifested itself with the aim of amending the Organic Law on the Freedom of Association “to open up representation to all of Spanish society”.
Elections in sight
With regional and municipal elections on May 28 approaching, union leaders see May 1 as the start of an important political cycle for Spain. The trade unions hope that the social dialogue between them and the employers’ organisation will resume in order to agree on the necessary reforms and improvements for the working class.