Gabriel Ubieto – Barcelona May 1, 2021. 12:18 PM
Demonstration on May 1 on the Vía Laietana in Barcelona. / MANU MITRU
“They should stop talking about the Council for the Republic and come to an agreement”, says the UGT leader.
Major unions in Catalonia, UGT and CCOO, have mobilized this Saturday, May 1, for the repeal of the labor reform, the implementation of a “decent pension system”, the increase in the minimum inter-professional salary (SMI) and the formation of a stable Govern. The call to form an Executive as soon as possible has been a shared message launched by the general secretaries, Javier Pacheco and Camil Ros, harsh criticism for the delay.
Under the slogan ‘The country is in debt to the working class’ and after a year without being able to carry out the traditional demonstrations, for Labor Day UGT and CC.OO. They have called “static” demonstrations between 11 and 12 in Barcelona – on Via Laietana, near the Post Office -, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida, Tortosa (Tarragona) and Igualada (Barcelona).
“Stop talking about the Council for the Republic and come to an agreement”, said Ros (UGT). “The polls have spoken and must give an answer to the citizens. It is unacceptable that after more than 80 days after the elections we do not have a Government”, added Pacheco (CCOO) in a protest held in Barcelona.
The unions have warned of the process of deindustrialization that Catalonia has been experiencing in recent years. And they have held the Government responsible for its “passivity” and “absence” to reverse the closure of factories such as Nissan, Bosch, Saint Gobain or TE Connectivity. “The Government has been disappeared during these last four years and has wasted the mechanism of the National Pact for the Industry”, the CCOO leader denounced.
This 1-May Day has also served the unions with majority representation to make visible the labor disputes currently open in the banking system, whose entities are raising some 18,000 dismissals throughout the country. “It’s indecent”, Ros has declared. “We rescued them with public money and now they pay us like this”, added Pacheco.
Demands to the Government
To stop the trail of EREs that have transpired in recent months, union leaders have demanded that the Government of Pedro Sánchez recover the administrative authorization of the EREs, a power lost after the labor reform of the PP and that allowed the Administration to veto collective layoffs if they were not duly justified. This point does not appear in the coalition agreement between PSOE and Unidas Podemos and the unions have demanded to incorporate it into the negotiating tables with the bosses.
Labor reform aside, the Executive has pending to resume the increase in the minimum inter-professional salary (SMI) and this 1-May Day the unions have reminded Pedro Sánchez of this commitment. “We will not accept changes in the social agenda. The Government cannot turn its back on the most vulnerable. This time, no one can be left behind”, said Pacheco, from CCOO.
The Madrid electoral campaign has been very present in the speeches of the different Catalan trade unionists who have come to the floor this rainy Saturday in front of the old Post Office building in Barcelona. The harsh criticism of VOX and the anti-fascist proclamations have been mixed with a wake-up call towards the Government. “Let them not to be confused with the elections and comply with their program”, said the UGT leader, Camil Ros.
These demonstrations are also joined by those of other unions – such as CGT, Usoc and Iac – with various slogans and that can also be followed in the main Catalan cities to defend the rights of the working class. The demand for independence also has its space in the hands of the ANC and the Intersindical-CSC, which defend a “pro-independence unionism” to shield Catalan in the work centers and make policies that reduce unemployment and temporary employment.