The works council and the management of Tubacex have reached an agreement in principle to settle the conflict and put an end to a strike that has lasted 231 days. As reported by ‘El Correo’ and confirmed by this newspaper, the management has accepted a proposal that the committee has then sent to the Department of Labour and Employment, led by the vice-president of the Basque Government, Idoia Mendia.
Tubacex agrees to withdraw its appeal to the Supreme Court if the workforce accepts more cuts, but the workers “do not trust” the management.
The works council has stressed, however, that the agreement is not yet signed and appeals to caution because they are still working on it. They wield the forced dismissals as the main “stumbling block” to reach a resolution. Official sources confirm that the Basque Government has summoned the works council to a meeting to put an end to the conflict, under two conditions: “maintenance of employment” and “economic viability of the project”. These same sources clarify that, although there is no date for the meeting with the company, it will take place as soon as it is requested.
The institutions look favourably on the principle of agreement. “If it is confirmed, it is extraordinary news. That the solution is agreed is the only way to preserve the future of the company,” Ramiro Gonzalez, the deputy general of Alava, told the media on Wednesday. Bingen Zupiria, spokesman for the Basque Government, stressed that it is an “important company for the Basque Country, Alava and the region”. The employers’ association of Alava (SEA), however, has called for caution. “All agreements are important. After seven months, we must be prudent and let them work. We are happy, but, above all, caution,” reiterated its president, Pascal Gomez.
The unions that form part of theOn 3 September, the works council agreed to submit a proposal to the management demanding the withdrawal of the compulsory redundancies and the appeals filed with the Supreme Court. However, the management rejected it at a meeting after claiming that the negotiation of the new ERTE was not related to the underlying labour dispute surrounding the dismissals. Instead, the company proposed to complement the ERTE with the holidays that the workforce has not enjoyed because they have been on strike for more than 200 days, something that the committee did not accept since its “priority is to resolve the conflict with temporary measures such as the ERTE, but accompanied by non-traumatic structural measures”. The management agreed to withdraw the appeal to the Supreme Court if the template assumed more cuts. “It is not fair to make the salaries of our colleagues more precarious when the management has just raised them,” protested the workers, who did not trust the management.
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