War drums from the headquarters of UGT and CC.OO. After the union led by Unai Sordo warned the government that the reforms promised to Brussels must not stifle social dialogue, CC.OO. and UGT have agreed call mobilizations for the month of February, as reported by both unions after the meeting of their governing bodies. The objective of these actions is to demand from the Executive of Pedro Sánchez the implementation of the agenda of social reforms committed to the coalition Government of PSOE and United We Can.
Unions will meet next January 19 to specify what these actions will consist of and the calendar of mobilizations. They consider that, once the Covid vaccination campaign has started, it is urgent «Putting people in the first place of politics in the process of rebuilding the country». They demand an increase in the Interprofessional Minimum Wage and repeal the labor and pension reforms. Other union demands are the expansion of the ERTE, the signing of a new agreement of agreements with the employer, the regulation of digital platforms, the Equal Salary Law and a crash plan against accidents.
As ABC advanced, the minimum wage has been the drop that has filled the glass of the unions. It is now impossible that their demands for rise can be replicated in the decisions of the Government, which will also be forced to to make drastic decisions, cuts, contrary to the interests of UGT and CC.OO. in many other areas, for example, in the labor market and pensions. There will not be a labor counter-reform, nor will polite measures be taken on the pension system, drowned in the red and in debt to the maximum. Brussels prevails and demands more labor flexibility and spending adjustment measures to guarantee the sustainability of pensions.
The reforms will undoubtedly confront the union world with the Government and the hardening of the crisis It will make union demands greater in a year in which the Executive will gradually cut aid deployed in the pandemic, such as ERTE. That many of them end up in ERE is a matter of time if the job safety net is not maintained. The conflict is served and in this contest Podemos is clearly on the union side.
The unions are going to be inflexible and are already demanding that the Government comply with the agreement between the PSOE and Podemos to repeal “the most harmful aspects” of the labor norm of the PP, which would imply, in practice, attacking its essence. It is not an option, it is an obligation, the UGT leader, Pepe Álvarez, has come to say, who has not stopped reproaching the president for his management of the crisis. His darts have gone in all directions. On the labor reform he went on to say that “The Government is not so left-wing and lacks political will against labor reform”. He also distanced himself from Iglesias’s criticism of businessman Amancio Ortega and recently stated that “the Administration has not had the capacity to manage the crisis.”
Álvarez has not hidden his disgust with the Executive; felt betrayed in the formation of the Government, in which he expected some representation from his union. A fulfilled aspiration for the leader of CC.OO., Unai Sordo, ideologist of Yolanda Díaz’s labor measures, over whom he has more than influence in decision-making. The communist union is fully represented in three ministries and a vice presidency. But now he revolts against Sánchez. “If the Government does not move pieces with the labor reform it will have a conflict with the unions, this is more than evident,” he warned.
The sources of conflict that have historically pitted governments against the union world reappear, and with a leftist government. Labor and pension reform have been the trigger for the string of general strikes in Spain, which began in 1985, when CC.OO. called a strike against the Executive of Felipe González for the reform that raised the period for calculating pensions from two to eight years. Now it is Sánchez who is no longer assured of social peace.