“It is unacceptable for a Government to scorn trade union democracy”

Sep 22, 2016
ELA and LAB called thousands of people to demonstrate on the 20th of September in Gasteiz to demand the Basque Government to respect the democratically elected majorities by the workers. The demonstration ended outside the Lehendakaritza offices, where a short event was held.

The aim behind this mobilisation was to denounce the agreement on collective bargaining reached on the 22nd of July by the Basque Government, Confebask, CCOO and UGT at the so-called Social Dialogue Round-Table. An agreement with the trade union minority that breaks the democratic rules and benefits the employers’ interests. In short, this is a new success story for employers who are working towards decreased salaries and increased job insecurity. Along with thousands of activists in Gasteiz, all the members belonging to previous Executive Committees of the trade union also took part.

During his speech, the secretary general of ELA, Adolfo Muñoz, underscored the fact that the Basque Government had decided to back the employers so that, scorning the results of the trade union elections whoever might be elected, with any representation they might have, they will be able to do whatever they want when determining work conditions. “It makes no difference whether the representation held by the elected person is 49% or 5%. Whoever this might be. We think that this support by the Government is a full scale attack on trade unión freedom”.

And why does it do this?” Muñoz asked. “Because it shares the idea with Confebask, an organisation that is incapable of accrediting the representation it has, that any trade union or social claims have to be neutralised in order to back the drop in wages. Both job and social insecurity must be backed, an idea that the Government itself spreads in its areas of responsibility”.

The secretary general of ELA demanded the Basque Government to go back on this agreement and to respect the workers’ votes. “This is a minimum demand. The party legitimacy of the Government does not give them the right to come rushing in like a bull in a china shop to the world of work to destroy the trade union legitimacy that the trade unions obtain in our elections. They must respect trade union independence. A democratic Government has only one option: to respect the votes of the workers in the polls of the trade union elections”.

In Adolfo Muñoz’s opinion, agreements such as those signed on the 22nd of July of this year make it increasingly difficult when the people in charge from the Government talk to differentiate whether they are doing so as defenders of public interests or as employer representatives. Therefore, we assert that this Government defends the “right to decide” .... of the employers. It is a Government that devotes a great deal of effort to breaking the balance in society in favour of businessmen. When the workers decide on the representatives we want, you scorn them. In politics, what is said counts less and less. What is really done is what counts. A democratic Government, Mr. Lehendakari, should not do what your government has done. Does it seem reasonable to you that 10% supplants 90% of the trade union representation? Where does that leave trade union freedom now? Would it seem reasonable to you for someone to come along and tell you that your party’s 27 seats are worth nothing? This is what they want to do to us”.