Labor conflict picks up in 2022 with wage negotiations blocked


The labor conflict has rebounded in recent months – with 679 strikes in all of 2022, 73 more than a year earlier– in a period marked by sharp price rises, while the wage negotiation table between employers and unions remains blocked.

More than 700,000 hours not worked

According to the statistics published by the Ministry of Labor, between January and December 2022, there were 709,099 days not worked for this reason67% more than in 2021. Between January and February of this year, the latest data published, there were 66,052 days not worked, which represents an increase of 50% compared to the same period in 2022.

UGT and CCOO have once again highlighted these figures this week linking to the “salary or conflict” campaign and that they expect to intensify if a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached. “If the business class does not sit at the negotiating tables with realistic proposals, that they recover the purchasing power of wages, conflict will escalate and they will be the only ones responsible”, reads the manifesto of the unions for May Day.

The implementation of a new agreement for employment and collective bargaining (AENC) that serves as an indication for negotiation in the different companies and sectors has barely progressed for months. The main point of blockage seems to remain in the inclusion of clauses that allow recovering the purchasing power lost by workers in this inflationary crisis, a point claimed by the unions and that the CEOE and Cepyme reject.

In this context of blockade, the UGT and CCOO defend that this path of conflict has been able to close good salary deals and to recover those clauses, especially in the sectors where there is more union weight, but not only in them.

longer conflicts

According to a recent CCOO report, in 2022 large groups went on strike for the first time, such as Quirón Prevención, or consulting and technology companies; while others that had not called a strike for decades have done so again, such as the citrus harvesting sector in Valencia.

“The difficulty in reaching agreements can also be seen in the longer duration of conflicts“, highlights the aforementioned report, which indicates that some have lasted several weeks, such as the metal sector strikes in Cantabria, Orense or Vizcaya, that of the home help services in Asturias and Ciudad Real, or the strike of the centers sports clubs in Navarra that lasted almost three months.

Among the most mediatic conflicts of 2022, there were also the strikes of the telephone service companies or, in the public sphere, those of the Labor Inspectorate. Some situations that the UGT and CCOO believe they will accentuate during this year if no progress is made on that agreement.

“If there is no progress in theagreement for employment and collective bargaining (AENC) we are going to go to an intense mobilization process in the second part of the year (…) CEOE will know how far they want to take the mobilizations”, underlined this week the general secretary of CCOO, Unai Sordo. “The CEOE has to feel the breath of the streets demanding that they put an end to the greed and usury that business profits represent in some cases”, added the general secretary of UGT, Pepe Álvarez.

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