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Alternative Trade Unionism Calls A General Strike In Catalonia

ByKarol Kowalski

Feb 23, 2021

The alternative unionism has called a general strike in Catalonia to cover the protests on March 8 . The CGT and the IAC , with the support of other centrals such as Sindillar or the Sindicat de Periodistas, have formally registered 24 hours of work stoppages for International Women’s Day on Monday with the Department of Treball .

The organizers have proposed a day of mobilizations different from other years. The details are still pending to be confirmed, but the format will be of static concentrations in the neighborhoods; instead of the mass demonstrations of other years.

The alternative trade unionism thus reissues for the fourth consecutive year its call for a general strike, in a context marked by the health emergency. “In the face of covid-19, [the strike] is absolutely necessary. […] Gender inequalities have been clearly aggravated,” said IAC spokeswoman Assumpta Barbens .

The impact of the COVID crisis on the labor market is having a greater impact on women than on men. According to the latest data updated by the Departament de TreballIn the last year, female employment has decreased somewhat more sharply (-4.1%) than male employment (-3.9%).

The higher indices of partiality and temporary employment among female workers, as well as a greater participation in sectors especially affected by the virus (such as the hospitality industry) explain, in part, this greater impact.

The organizers have argued that one of the reasons for the protest is “social, economic and labor recognition” so that certain professions can have equal access to benefits and rights from which until now they have been excluded.

An example is domestic workers, who, because they are framed in a special regime, do not have the right to unemployment benefit, or severance pay, and they contribute significantly below the average. This has a direct impact, among others, on your retirement benefit.

“We denounce the lack of political will of successive governments that have done nothing to alleviate the precarious conditions to which the Spanish State and current regulations subject us,” said Sindillar spokeswoman Lisette Fernández .

Signing ILO Convention 189 – a kind of protocol of reforms to ensure dignity for domestic workers – is a commitment that appears in the government agreement between the PSOE and United We Can. Of which there is still no compliance.

From the CGT they have denounced that the pandemic has aggravated the unequal distribution of care tasks, with practices such as teleworking , which have caused a “false work-family reconciliation”, as highlighted by CGT spokesperson Rosalía Molina.

“Despite the restrictions and maintaining all the security measures required by the current situation, we need to be firmly present against inequalities, violence and the exclusion of a heteropatriarchal system that makes us invisible,” said Barbens.

The unions with majority representation in Catalonia, CCOO and UGT, have declined to call strikes this year and will bet on protest acts, combining face-to-face and online formats. “The covid has shown that women are sustaining the world. We have plenty of reasons, but we are not in the ideal conditions,” says the secretary of equality of UGT de Catalunya, Eva Gajardo .

From their union they will call to participate in the protest acts organized by the feminist movement and from the central itself they are finalizing informative days in the previous days. CCOO sources , for their part, confirmed that the central is working with a similar script to commemorate March 8.

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