Thousands of people demand the repeal of the labour and collective bargaining reforms in Euskal Herria, Catalonia and Galicia

Apr 07, 2021
Thousands of members of ELA have protested in the capital cities of the four herrialdes (territories) of Hego Euskal Herria under the slogan “Sarraskiari STOP; lan erreformak derogatu. Don’t sell us in Madrid”. Similar mobilisations have taken place, at the same time in Galicia and Catalonia within the joint campaign started up by the trade unions ELA, CIG and Intersindical to promote the repeal of the labour and collective bargaining reforms in the Congress of Deputies, in Madrid.

The three trade unions have decided to take to the streets in order to prevent the mass redundancies that could be derived from the end of the ‘ERTE’ (Temporary Employment Regulation Files), and that could come after the pandemic and to demand the right to negotiate employment agreements in their respective countries. “The jobs and living conditions of thousands of people are at stake,” the secretary general of ELA stated during his speech after the demonstration in Bilbao. For this reason Mitxel Lakuntza has urged the Basque political forces – PNV and EH Bildu, to use their influence in Madrid to repeal the labour and collective bargaining reforms passed from 2010 to 2012, during the governments of Zapatero and Rajoy. In spite of the promises, Lakuntza voiced his fear that using the excuse of the pandemic, the repeal of the reforms that have not created any employment, but rather have made the existing jobs more insecure will continue without being approved. He also showed his concern about the outcome of the talks that are being held in Madrid by the State trade unions UGT and CCOO with the employers’ associations and the Spanish government.

With the spotlight now on his homeland, the secretary general of ELA has criticised the economic and labour policy of the Basque Government. “Employment is not a priority for the Gasteiz government. An example of this can be seen in the fact that 40% of its direct personnel hold temporary contracts, or the 24,000 jobs that have been destroyed by the pandemic, 10,000 of them in the hotel and catering industry. And all of this with the silence of the government councillor Tapia when companies with profits lay off hundreds of workers.”

With this in mind, Lakuntza has defended striking as a fundamental right of the working classes. “The strike is a tool in the fight. It is shameful that the PNV coincides with the PP and VOX to demand prison sentences for picketers to be upheld. On this point, I would like to show our support and solidarity with the hundreds of workers in the fight for their jobs in companies such as Tubacex, Aernova, ITP, Gestamp, Alestis, Zara…”

Finally, Lakuntza explained that the joint mobilisation with the trade unions CIG, from Galicia, and Intersindical, from Catalonia, is the result of a common problem: bringing an end to a labour reform that allows mass redundancies to be made, with virtually no justification and that prevent us from negotiating our agreements in our respective countries.

The three trade unions have coincided in demanding the separatists in their respective territories to defend the interests of the working classes in Madrid. “In our case, currently the votes of EH-Bildu and PNV are needed to obtain majorities to pass laws in the Congress. Therefore, we ask them to not sell us out: not for empty agreements, without any specific commitments; nor for the burying of some roads, nor for 25 km of motorway. We urge PNV and EH Bildu to make people’s working and living conditions a priority.”