de position - - Toma de posición - Statements
- Toma de posición - Statements
Against the high cost of living, low wages and worsening working conditions, the only way out is the CLASS STRUGGLE, not symbolic actions or the mobilisation of trade union delegates
The two main trade union federations in Spain, CC.OO. and the UGT, have called a demonstration in Madrid for next Thursday, 3 November, through which they intend to demand from the government and the bosses measures that would limit the loss of purchasing power suffered by workers' wages and flexibility in negotiating the future labour regulations that will be introduced. This demonstration is the culmination of a series of symbolic actions, such as the rally outside the employers' headquarters on 7 October and the rallies at workplaces… Here is that famous “hot autumn” they promised in the summer if the economic situation does not improve significantly. Here we can see the real meaning of the campaigns they have been waging and the boldness with which they have expressed themselves in the press and on television. After a few meetings, a few rallies, but which in reality, apart from a few isolated plants, did not take place… a demonstration is called for Thursday, at a time when everyone is normally at work, so it is designed to be attended only by union delegates and those who can leave their official jobs for a few hours.
IN THE MEANTIME, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WORKERS?
According to the publications of the Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO.) itself, prices have risen by 10.2% and structural inflation by 5.5% so far this summer, while wages have risen by only 1.33%, which translates into an average of 2.42% for the 5.8 million workers who have signed the contract and 0% for the 4.8 million workers who have not yet signed (from the publication Análisis de la inflationción, published by the aforementioned CC.OO. in July this year).
Since July, the situation has only worsened. Although, according to CC.OO. (and confirmed by the latest figures from the national statistics office INE) the inflation is being boosted by the effect of the considerable profit margins of the companies, in addition to the already significant upward trend in prices as a result of the monetary policy of the ECB and the FED, the policy of this trade union organisation, the UGT and the other small organisations that follow it, either by coercion or by choice, is a concerted effort to keep wages low enough not to hamper the growth of the Spanish economy. All the agreements now under preparation are based on wage increases that are well below the expected price rises. Just look at the last major mobilisations called by the unions, which focused on the metal industry in Cantabria, Orense and now Biscay. Despite the militancy shown by the workers in these strikes, despite their ability to keep the conflict going for weeks and weeks… it was on the part of the CC.OO. and the UGT, relying on the invaluable support of the Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, done everything possible to prevent this strength of the proletariat from being transformed into a full victory on the terrain of wages. Thus, in Cantabria, the workers were pushed to vote (with the exception of a significant minority who favoured the continuation of the strike) for an agreement that foresaw a 4.2% wage increase in 2022 (which in reality represents a 6% fall in real wages in that year!). In Orensa, workers will get a 5% increase still for 2022, a further drop of more than six percentage points. And if things continue as they have been, we'll see in the coming weeks how CC.OO. will force another similar agreement in the metals industry in Biscay, despite the militancy and capacity to fight that the proletarians of the metals sector are undoubtedly demonstrating.
So what is the reality? CC.OO. and the UGT try to tame the thrust of the proletarians, they do everything they can to keep wages low, they wash their hands in thwarting the organization of strikes and mobilizations where they cannot prevent them from breaking out, and as a result they always act in a united front with the government to enforce the economic policies they demand for the sake of the national bourgeoisie. Today it is disputes over wages, ten years ago, during the previous crisis of 2008–2013, it was the redundancy fund and the reduction of social benefits… Anyway, always against the proletarian class.
WAR PROPAGANDA EVEN AT HOME
It is in the government that the essential part of this effort of workers demobilization and enforce the requirements demanded by the bosses and the bourgeoisie is expressed. The tone of this daily struggle against the proletariat, the propaganda that pretends to pass off as gains and victories the defeats and capitulations that will be dearly paid for in the years to come, is part of a propaganda system designed to shore up the trade union policy and soften the view of its consequences. Pedro Sánchez's Social Democracy, Yolanda Díaz's neo-Stalinists and the populist remnants of Belarra and Montero have, thanks to their historical experience, acquired the ability to use the necessary propaganda means to push through the anti-worker measures that the situation demands. At the time when these measures may still seem relatively mild compared to those that afflicted the country a decade ago, the left-wing coalition that is in government still has room to paint a less than optimistic situation in rosy colours… In reality, however, it is preparing ammunition and suitable reserves for a time when it will have to intervene with a strong fist.
THE ONLY POSSIBLE WAY OUT
While the government and the unions pretend to confront the bosses, and while they put on a mere show, as they did in Madrid on Thursday, March 3… the sinister work of the bourgeois forces, both those that openly declare themselves as such and those that work among the proletariat, continues unabated. The working conditions of all proletarians will drastically worsen, first in the form of wages and then in the form of layoffs, further cuts in social benefits, etc. And this will be the trend in the coming months, in all the collective agreements that will be signed and in all the government initiatives that will be launched.
Moreover, with the worsening economic situation as a result of the war in Ukraine, it is increasingly necessary to demand further sacrifices from the proletariat for the sake of the national economy: the “hard line” of the government and the bosses will be imposed. Borrel, the historic representative of the socialist apparatus, in his function as Union representative for foreign affairs, is already advocating measures that will sooner or later be discussed in Spain: the necessities of war in the first place, sacrifices in favour of the military effort, the relentless control of any opposition… These are formulations that may sound remote today, but they are in the minds of all the national bourgeoisies.
To speak today of the possibility of the proletarian class completely reversing this situation is illusory. The control by the politics of class collaboration which has dominated the proletariat for decades – expressed through the democratic mechanisms of “participation in the state”, parliamentary forms which are extended to the workplace, large trade unions integrated into the apparatus of the state, etc. – it is still strong enough to persuade the proletariat that even in situations where social tension is growing as a result of a general deterioration in living conditions, the only conceivable means is to demand that the bourgeoisie agree not to be too demanding, to maintain “social cohesion”… in a word, that it too respects the policy of collaboration.
But the proletarian class, given its status and the position it occupies in capitalist society, will inevitably suffer the consequences of the unfolding situation. In fact, this is already happening, in the form of wage cuts, the deterioration of the employment situation, the increase in insecurity… And it will happen even more when more binding measures are introduced, which the escalation of the war in Ukraine will undoubtedly bring. And this situation, which is inevitable, will certainly contribute to the slow but sure weakening of those bonds, that trust, and that respect for the bourgeoisie which today seems unshakable.
The recent strikes of the metalworkers from Cadiz to Biscay, although defeated by the combined action of the forces of the opportunist unions and government propaganda, show that when the proletarians are pushed into the struggle and take over its leadership with vigour and determination, social peace and the apparent norm of yielding sooner or later to their enemy are seriously threatened.
These elementary and basic impulses to struggle are the basis on which the proletarians' capacity to resist (and, if necessary, to attack) must return. Unconditional defence of living conditions, struggle waged without respect for the rules imposed by the bosses and their political and trade union allies, force and class solidarity vis-a-vis legislation whose aim is precisely to suppress the proletariat's capacity for struggle… These are the lessons that proletarians in various sectors and regions have delivered to the rest of the class in recent months. The mobilisation of temporary and sub-contracted workers in the Gulf of Cadiz, which broke the fragmentation and mutual competition to which they are forced by the working conditions imposed by the bosses and the unions, although not generalised and sustained over time, was an example of this tendency to struggle, which acquires force when it is generalised by the use of class means and methods. Such an example was the long struggle of the workers of Tubacex a short time before, or more recently of the proletarians of the metalworking industry in Orensa and Cantabria, who were able to use methods (pickets, clashes with scabs, resistance against the police…) that seemed to have been forgotten for decades.
Against the union buffoonery and the demobilization, they try to impose on the proletariat!
For the unconditional defence of living and working conditions!
For the return to the means and methods of the class struggle!
October, 30th 2022
Il comunista - le prolétaire - el proletario - proletarian - programme communiste - el programa comunista - Communist Program
-Back to Statements - Back to Archives