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This was the last negotiation that released the metal strike in Cantabria

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Cantabria’s metal sector was unequivocal: an indefinite strike until improvements in working conditions and wages were achieved. Negotiations between the bosses and the unions were unsuccessful and on June 1st it was decided that the union, which comprises 20,000 workers and is a major industrial axis for the region, will cease. They would not move until they made that progress, and they remained so until this Tuesday afternoon. The mediation of the Labor Department, which the unions asked for help in converging their positions, enabled an agreement that was ratified by assemblies and marked the end of the strike that had rocked the economy and regional politics.

Once the affected templates voted for these terms, activity was restored. Unions UGT, CC OO and USO reported Monday evening on the principle of the pact, which was signed with 65% support in Tuesday’s vote. The result implies a salary increase of 3.5% for 2021 plus a levy of 250 euros; a 4.5% pay rise for 2022 with “a 65% pay rise on the real CPI plus the back payment of 8%” and a 3% pay rise for 2023 and 2024 with a pay rise at 85% on the consumer price index (CPI). Organizations have celebrated “respecting acquired rights” after fighting hard for it. Joaquín Pérez, Secretary of State for Employment and Social Economy, explains that the focus of the tensions was on “how to deal with future wage increases”, with opposing positions on which the ministry, led by the government’s second vice-president, Yolanda Diaz, had to mediate.

The impassable situation in Cantabria, where the metallurgical sector was pressured by the regional president, Miguel Ángel Revilla (Regionalist Party of Cantabria), who classified the measure as “very serious” and “little understandable”, prompted the unions to write a joint letter to Díaz, in order to mediate Pérez reports that “Cantabrian metallurgy is vital in the region and in the country” and that Labor intervened after making contact with the minister. “She used her negotiation experience for her knowledge in the social dialogue,” describes the high position, because before Yolanda Díaz held public office, she had traveled a long way in the Galician trade union movement. When the strike “reached significant proportions in terms of time and the exhaustion of the parties,” the ministry dispatched Director General for Labor, Verónica Martínez, who traveled to Santander and sat down with those involved in the government’s sub-delegation. There, after a seven-hour meeting, the bases were closed, allowing the gradual return to normal production.

The meeting, describes a worker from the sector and part of the negotiating table, moved between the “tensions” that have been the protagonist in these weeks. “It was a very hard and intense but enjoyable strike, the follow-up was important and people claimed on the street that we had stopped it a long time ago,” praises this information strike participant, who appreciates the high follow-up of the break between the templates of the numerous companies in this sector. The trade unionist considers that this process was the “hardest” of those she has participated in during her trip in this area with an employer company in his position, remaining immobile for several days: “We have a step forward and made three resign”.

According to this worker, the perseverance of those affected to demonstrate on the streets and not back down from their demands has “weakened” the position of the company side, making it inflexible when the Cantabrian government asked those involved to give in to the pact. Labor intervention, the table’s participant believes, has enabled employers to take the final step ahead of a final proposal that they have also long resisted. The fact that this agreement has finally been reached, which maintains and improves the working conditions of 20,000 people, satisfies the union representative because of the importance she predicts for the area: “For Cantabria, it will mark a before and after, a turning point difficult to forget only because of the agreement, but because of the massive and strongly supported mobilization.”

Source elpais.com

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