In the first place, we want to express our solidarity and show all our support for the people who are freely deciding to exercise their legitimate right to work, as well as the companies that are maintaining their activity, which in both cases are the vast majority of those affected by the strike of iron and steel, convened only in the province of Ourense.
We demand respect from the convening unions for the workers and companies that have decided to continue working at a time of maximum difficulty for the maintenance of business activity and employment, the same as all the rest of us profess to those who decide to join the call.
We explicitly condemn the violent actions that are taking place in different parts of the province, in particular those that take place in the Polígono that we represent, and that are the clearest example that a right such as the right to strike cannot be defended by trampling on others, such as the right to work.
We ask the unions, and very particularly the UGT and CC.OO., to take charge of the general economic situation and to reconsider from common sense the proposal that they have on the table or at least sit down to negotiate it because:
- It notably improves the increase that both unions approved for civil servants in this country, with an increase of 9.5% in three years, compared to the 13% that the business side has offered to stop this strike: 5% for this year, 4% for 2023 and 4% for 2024.
- It is difficult to understand that what works for civil servants does not work for iron and steel workers, not even when the salary increase offered to the latter is improved by more than 3.5% in three years in relation to public employees.
- The increase offered by the business side (5%) almost doubles the average increase in wages agreed in an agreement in Spain until last August, which stood at 2.60%. And the same during the following two years (4% in 2023 and 2024). If we focus on Galicia, the increase in wages agreed by agreement until August was 3.71%, also well below the 5% offered yesterday in Ourense to the unions. In the case of the province of Ourense, that increase was 2.39% until last August.
- In addition, the wage increase offered by the employers for this year is well above the 3.6% rise in the minimum wage, agreed between the government and the unions themselves.
- It is also above the Interconfederal Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC) 2018-2020, which proposed wage increases of around 2% plus one percentage point linked to productivity, business results and absenteeism.
In addition to respect and common sense, we ask the three trade union centers for concord and consultation to put an end to a strike that, of course, damages business activity, the economy of Ourense and, if it is not remedied, the stability of employment, but that also harms (a lot) those who support it and all the workers in the sector.
The last offer contemplated the payment of arrears, at 5%, from July this year. When this week ends, after the two days of strike in the previous one and the three in the current one, the workers will have lost the equivalent of 5 months’ arrears, because each day of strike means that each worker loses the equivalent of one month of arrears.
This last one is one more nonsense of a strike that seems to respond more to the interest of some union than to the defense of the interest of the workers as a whole, because, as we said at the beginning, we are talking about a wage increase offer with few or no precedents in the history of collective negotiations in Ourense (13% in 3 years) and much higher than the average of those that are being agreed at this time in Spain.