ELA obtains a wage rise of over 23% after two years of dispute and a 68 day-long strike

May 23, 2023
With 65% representation in the sector, ELA has signed an agreement with the employer associations at the Labour Relations Board (CRL) to renew the collective bargaining agreement for the care homes in Bizkaia. In this way, at the assembly held today, the workers unanimously decided to bring an end to a labour dispute that has lasted almost two years and 68 days of strike and which affects over 5,000 workers.


The agreement includes a wage rise linked to the CPI (of IPC + 4), will be valid from 2021 to 2025; it will be generally effective and minimally applicable in all the care homes of Bizkaia. Therefore, when this period ends, the wages will have had a 23.22% increase; a rise that gives continuity to that reached in the previous strike and that accumulates a wage rise of over 36% in the monthly salary since 2015. These will become the highest increases in Hego Euskal Herria (South Basque Country) and of the State, exceeding the agreement signed as a minority by UGT in Gipuzkoa.

Likewise, a 35-hour week (1,592 per year) has been consolidated, which, along with the 20 minute break periods during the working day, make the effective working day into 1,520 hours. The workers in the Bizkaia sector will work 180 hours less than the state average (1,772 hours per year). For this reason, taking the wage rise and reduction in the working day, the value per worked hour has increased: while the state average is 9.16 euros per hour, in Bizkaia on average they will pay 15.83 euros: 73% more than the state.

It is worth mentioning that the Agreement guarantees that 85% of the staff in care homes must be permanent workers and absent workers must be substituted from the first day, according to that established in the applicable legislation. Additionally, plans of equality and promotion of the use of the Basque language have been agreed to be fostered.

Therefore, these are the main demands included in the agreement:

  • A wage rise of 23.22% (CPI + 4 throughout the agreement).

    *2023: 8.78 %; 2024: 5.10%; 2025: 5.10 % + 2.55% from October, 2025 onwards.

  • The wages of a geriatric carer will go from the current 1,460.80 euros per month to 1,800 euros in 2025.

  • Increases in bonuses for working on Sundays and seniority for over 22%.

  • The application of the agreement is guaranteed along with all the anti-reform clauses that CEBEK rejected at one time.

  • Substitution of the worker from the first day is guaranteed, according to that established by the applicable legislation.

  • The employers’ associations are committed to stable hiring and the employability of the workers, taking into account the care requirements.

  • A real commitment to promote plans for equality and the Basque language.

  • Improvements on the subject of labour conciliation.

ELA wants to emphasise the fight of a female-dominated sector that has been made invisible, which also had to fight for the previous agreement during a 378-day strike. The employers’ associations refused to negotiate, but thanks to the mobilizations and 67 days of strike, an agreement has been reached. The Regional Council of Bizkaia, which holds the ultimate responsibility for the sector, has shared the need for a generally effective agreement. This is a very important, new step, in the bringing of respect to the working and living conditions of the workers in the sector and also an advance towards an improvement in the living conditions of the people who use the sector.

Now ELA will continue with its trade union work, care home by care home, to bring respect and improvement to both the working conditions in the sector and the service provided in a sector where a change in the care model is still completely necessary.