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Roadblocks, burning vehicles and altercations mark the strike of metal workers in the Spanish province of Cádiz (VIDEOS)

Posted: Nov 17, 2021 18:07 GMT

This Tuesday an indefinite strike began to demand the improvement of working conditions and the signing of a collective agreement that affects more than 20,000 workers.

The city of Cádiz, in southern Spain, is experiencing its second consecutive day of indefinite strike in the metal sector. More than 20,000 workers are called upon to support this strike, which has caused the paralysis of several manufacturing plants, including Airbus and Alestis.

These two days have left shocking images, such as the barricades that cut off key roads to enter the industrial estates, burning vehicles and some altercations between workers and police officers.

Thus, Cádiz, a province with a high rate of structural unemployment, contemplates how protests for the improvement of working conditions have taken its main avenues.

The pickets have blocked Avenida de los Astilleros, as well as access to key shipbuilding industries for the region’s economy, such as Navantia, Dragados, or Acerinox. The entrance to the industrial areas of Puerto Real and Campo de Gibraltar is also cut off.

Not only is road traffic being obstructed, with barricades and bonfires, but also rail traffic, which is trying to be clogged with pipes thrown onto the tracks.

During the day on Tuesday, an altercation took place between the National Police agents, deployed in the area, and the protesters. The former fired rubber shells, while the latter responded by throwing stones and screws. During these riots, one person was arrested.

Two very conflicting points on this second day

On this second day there have been two very conflictive points. On the one hand, the Industrial Highway, which is cut off to traffic by a large fire barricade; and on the other, the picket line at the Alestis facilities, which has cut off the road that leads to the industrial estate via the San Pedro River.

The pickets are still active at the gates of the rest of the large factories in the area and the three shipyards (Dragados Offshore, Alestis and Airbus) continue to be the center of action for the striking workers.

In this context, access to the San Fernando shipyard has dawned protected by a strong police device, which is allowing entry to both the shipyard and the military arsenal.

During this day the arrest of a person in the city of Cádiz who apparently carried incendiary material and has resisted the National Police when they tried to requisition it. Also, a trucker has turned out injured as a result of a blow caused by a protester with a wooden board.

In addition to the tensions due to the labor conflict, unions and employers also clash over the figures for monitoring the strike. The former estimate that the follow-up is absolute, while the latter rate it only at 15%.

Stalled conversations

The workers maintain that they will continue with the strike until the Federation of Metal Entrepreneurs (FEMCA), representative of the main companies in the region, offers an acceptable agreement. For its part, the employers have reiterated their offer of dialogue, although they maintain that the unions’ demands are unjustified and disproportionate.

The positions of each other to reach an agreement on the collective agreement remain stagnant. The unions calling for the strike, the Workers ‘Commissions (CC.OO.) and the General Workers’ Union (UGT), hope that the employers will launch some sign of rapprochement today.

For their part, the employers reiterate that the only way to end the strike must be negotiation between employees and employers. They are concerned about the consequences of this labor conflict and that the images of violence between protesters and the police may represent a deterioration of the external image of the province that generates uncertainty in potential international clients, who may choose to choose other locations to carry out the maintenance of their vessels.

The same concern is shared by the Minister of Economy of the Government of Spain, Nadia Calviño, who has admitted that she is very concerned about the images of the strike: “We have total respect for the demands of the workers and the freedom of demonstration and expression , but it cannot be that there are violent behaviors and that this situation is generated in the framework of a negotiation of a collective or labor agreement “, he said during a television interview on the program ‘Al Rojo Vivo’.

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For his part, the deputy delegate of the Government in Cádiz, José Pacheco, has called for the responsibility of the protesters and has roundly condemned the violent actions, at the same time he has defended the right of workers to strike. Pacheco has called for the negotiations to resume as soon as possible

At the heart of the conflict: wages

The unions denounce the lack of progress in the negotiations to sign a collective agreement that affects more than 20,000 workers in the auxiliary companies of the sector and that expired on December 31st 2020.

Apart from other differences, the center of the conflict is around wages. The unions demand a 2% increase in 2021, 2.5% in 2022 and 3% in 2023, as well as reviews of inflation every year to make adjustments in the event that the agreed increases are less than the increase in prices.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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