An indefinite strike by more than 20,000 metalworkers in the southwestern Cádiz region of the Spanish State began on Monday, November 15, and has continued after negotiations ended. The bosses have rejected workers’ demand for a wage increase to keep up with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure they keep trying to pretend doesn’t exist. Negotiations with the Federation of Metal Employers of Cádiz (Femca) lasted for eight hours, until 2 a.m. on Friday, at which point the union representatives broke off the talks and decided to keep the strike going until their demands are met.
Femca’s spokesman has tried to diminish the workers’ demands, stating that the unions have to “adapt” to the companies’ post-pandemic economic recovery. But that claim is easily challenged by the same data workers used to take apart the arguments of one of the companies, Airbus, around its aim to close its factory in Puerto Real.
The real story is that bosses refuse both to increase wages and reduce the rampant precariousness suffered by workers in the metal sector, noted for tyrannical employer abuses. As Antonio Montoro, the provincial secretary of the UGT trade union confederation’s industrial section, explained on Friday, some 75 percent of jobs in the province’s metal sector are temporary.
The striking workers have denounced the ongoing attacks on their peaceful demonstrations throughout the city by the National Police. Strikers have been shot with rubber bullets and charged by police, as happened when they marched on the city’s Constitution of 1812 Bridge. That came on the heels of earlier attacks by the repressive forces of the state, under the command of the “progressive” government of the Spanish Socialist Party and Podemos — two parties that have shown their true colors as guardians of the bosses’ interests.
Accused by the press and the regional government of violence by strikers, the workers have pointed out that it is the employers who are responsible for the real violence through their exploitation of workers and by condemning the province to precariousness.
A demonstration in support of the metalworkers will be held today at the Plaza Ingeniero de la Cierva in Cádiz to show the population’s broad support for the strikers’ struggle. Izquierda Diario is encouraging participation to set an example for the rest of the Spanish State.
First published in Spanish on November 19 in Izquierda Diario.es.
Translation by Scott Cooper.