Bilbao (EFE).- The labor dispute over the metal agreement in Bizkaia has come to an end with the signing of a principle of agreement between the employers’ association and the majority of the unions in the sector, CCOO, LAB and UGT.
The agreement has been signed under the mediation of the Basque Government and with the absence and opposition of the ELA union.
The headquarters of the Basque Government in Bilbao has been the setting in which the representatives of the Vizcaya Federation of Metal Companies (FVEM) and the CCOO, LAB and UGT centrals have stamped their signature on the agreement.
Its achievement, according to the unions, has been possible due to the “exemplary struggle” of the workers after eleven days of strike in recent months and numerous mobilizations.
The new Bizkaia metal agreement, the content of which has been assessed by the signatories, affects nearly 56,000 workers.
Congratulations from the Basque Government
After the signing of the agreement, the Deputy Minister of Labor, Elena Pérez Barredo, has conveyed the congratulations of the Vice-Hendakari Idoia Mendia for agreeing on a new agreement that offers “certainties” to companies and workers.
“It is an important day” for the metal of Bizkaia, a sector “significant because it is the mirror in which many sectors look at themselves,” said the deputy minister, who has called on ELA to join the agreement.
He has indicated that it has been achieved after a “difficult” process, in which the Department of Labor has acted “to facilitate the agreement”, and has offered this facilitating work to the parties to other conflicts that request it.
The CCOO, LAB and UGT unions, which account for 60% of the union representation in the sector, requested mediation, after the vice-hendakari Idoia Mendia offered it in parliamentary headquarters.
After several meetings, the members of the signatory unions accepted the majority of the members of the assembly last Wednesday the latest proposal for an agreement put forward by the Basque Government.
The employer appreciates the agreement
This proposal, converted today into a signed agreement, includes a salary increase for the period 2022-25 of 15% with a review clause according to the CPI for each year.
It also includes subrogation for facility staff, the start of permits and licenses on a working day, 8 hours of free disposition, improvements in insurance and the inclusion of LGTBI+ people in harassment protocols.
After the signing, the president of the Bizkaia metal employers’ association, Tamara Yagüe, assessed that the agreement “will allow” companies, which have made “a great effort” to reach the agreement, to focus on their activity.
As he pointed out at a press conference, “we are convinced – he has pointed out – that this pre-agreement will bring stability” and “will result in greater competitiveness of companies.”
The unions and the “struggle” of the metallurgists
For the unions, the agreement has been reached thanks to “the exemplary struggle” carried out in the sector.
According to Iratxe Azkue, from LAB, “the employers have not won” since “they wanted to take advantage of the situation to withdraw rights” and “they have not succeeded. There is not a single setback in this agreement », he assured.
In statements to the media, the trade unionist has denounced the role of the Basque Government in the metal conflict in Bizkaia through the Security department “with sanctions and charges” against workers participating in the strikes.
Azkue has denounced that while the agreement was being signed today “several workers have gone through the courts to collect new summonses” and has demanded that the complaints and sanctions be withdrawn.
The CCOO representative Luis Mouliaá also thanked the workers for their “fight” and expressed his satisfaction with the agreement reached after a “hard” year of negotiations.
As he has said, the employers “tried to instill fear and try to dismantle advances from previous agreements”, but “it has not been like that”, he has congratulated himself.
Likewise, José María Rojo, from UGT, has assessed that “the uncertainty that could arise from a non-signing of the agreement” is resolved.
For its part, ELA has regretted that CCOO, LAB and UGT “give political prominence to the Basque Government with its signing of an insufficient agreement” when the Executive “since the beginning of the conflict has gone hand in hand with the employers”
The union has indicated in a note that “the improvements contained in the agreement” have been thanks to “the fight” of the metal workers of Bizkaia.
Likewise, he regretted that the agreed contents “are practically identical to the employer’s last proposal” from November, when the signatory unions considered it “insufficient.” EFE