Strike in metal in Bizkaia, October 2, 2019: Mobilizations and follow-up




The organizing unions assure that between 80 and 85% of the calls to protest have supported it. There have been some incidents in the Bilbao demonstration.


Third day of the Bizkaia Metal strike

Hundreds of workers in the metal sector of Bizkaia took their protests to the headquarters of the Basque Government in Bilbao on Wednesday, on the third consecutive day of the strike this week. One more day, workers demand a “decent agreement”, the updating of their salaries, gender equality and the end of precariousness, in what has meant a new “message to the employer”, in the opinion of the convening unions of the mobilizations, according to which between 80 and 85% of the workers called to strike have supported it this Wednesday.

The strikers have taken over the streets of Bilbao since early in the morning, on the occasion of the manifestation which started at 07:45 am from the EiTB headquarters, next to the San Mamés entrances. On the occasion of the demonstration, the entrance and exit through San Mamés have been closed until 09:30 hours.

Subsequently, the workers have gone in a demonstration to the Plaza Euskadi, where the headquarters of the FVEM employers’ association is located; then they went to the headquarters of the Basque Government, to hold a rally and a sit-in. They then marched towards the palace of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, on Gran Vía.

During the march, some incidents have been recorded: several containers have burned from the capital of Biscay.

“Message to the employer”

The unions calling for the strike have affirmed that the “massive and majority” monitoring of the work stoppages is “a clear message to the employers so that, once and for all, they sit at the negotiating table with something that is minimally close to” their claims. Likewise, they have calculated that “between 80 and 85%” of the 50,000 workers in the sector have supported the strike.

The ELA representative, Mikel Etxebarria, has affirmed that with the concentrations held before the Basque Government and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia they have wanted to “question the institutions”, so that they are involved in the resolution of the conflict.

In addition, the representatives of ELA, CCOO and LAB have once again criticized Urkullu’s words, to which the UGT representative did not allude in his speech, who has addressed the sector’s employers’ association, FVEM at all times. In a speech given this Monday, Urkullu was “absolutely sure” that, “on the part of the companies of the FVEM, everything possible has been done in these months to try to reach agreements”; As he pointed out, since before the summer, it was known “the willingness of the unions to this strike” and the announcement of “a hot autumn”, which, in his opinion, leads to interpreting “the absence of” dialogue with a willingness to agree “.

Etxebarria (ELA) has described as inadmissible the words of the Lehendakari, and also those of the spokesman for the Basque Government, Josu Erkoreka (who has assured that Urkullu only asks for dialogue with a willingness to agree, “honest and loyal”, in the conflict), because , in his opinion, “they have literally bought the employer’s reading, because it is with whom they usually are, since with the unions and the workers, they are not usually there, nor are they nor want to be”.

For Luis Moulea, from CCOO Euskadi, “the working class in Bizkaia has shown that it maintains its muscle and FVEM has to understand once and for all that it is time for the working conditions to be updated in the agreement”.

Moulea has described as “extremely serious” that Iñigo Urkullu “has not yet rectified his words because he lied when he said that the strikes had been called since spring.”

The representative of CCOO Euskadi has asked the Lehendakari “not to take sides or side with the employers and that, as soon as possible, the Basque Government and the institutions of Bizkaia play the role they have to play to defend the workers.”

From LAB, Eulate Zilonizaurrekoetxea has described as “incredible the struggle that workers in this sector are developing for decent working conditions” because it is becoming “a popular struggle beyond metal itself.”

For his part, the UGT representative, José María Rojo, affirmed that the response to this third day of strike and eighth since the beginning of the conflict “has been the majority both in the companies and in the streets and since it began there has been no the workers’ response dropped a bit. “

Barricade, in Markina

In addition, early in the morning, a tire barricade caused the BI633 road to be cut off. and Markina. Shortly after 08:15 hours, the firefighters have removed it, and circulation has been restored.

The road has been cut in Markina at this point. Photo: @ ikersalgadoser1

Third consecutive day of strike

All this is happening within the framework of the third day of strike in the metal of Bizkaia. The convening unions, ELA, CCOO, LAB and UGT, have encrypted the monitoring of the same on Monday and Tuesday at 85%. The employer, for its part, pointed out that the participation on Tuesday was lower than the previous day: specifically, 22%.

On Tuesday, thousands of workers participated in the demonstrations held in Amorebieta-Etxano and Erandio.

The employers’ association FVEM, for its part, denounced the actions of “violent pickets” within the framework of the second day of the strike, especially in the Duranguesado region. The unions, however, assure that the violent actions of the pickets respond to “isolated” situations.

The Ertzaintza identified 14 workers in different parts of the municipalities of Berriz, Zaldibar, Igorre and Zamudio. Later, he identified another twenty people in Abadiño, where the actions of the pickets caused damage to the door and the furniture of a company located on Arzubia street in the town.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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