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(en) Spain, Alternative Libertaire, nov, 2004: CGT is now the third biggest union

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 7 Jan 2005 09:50:35 +0100 (CET)

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For years it was already true on the ground. The General Labor
Confederation (CGT, anarcho-syndicalist) could be considered as the
third Spanish labor organisation, behind the two big union centrals, the
Worker's Commissions (CC-OO) and the General Union of Labor (UGT). Now,
at the end of the union election process in the private and public
sector, it can truly be said, and the numbers prove it, that the CGT is
consolidating its position as the third most "representative" of Spain's workers.
With over 5,000 shop stewards (3,639 elected to industrial committees
and 1,400 elected as official union delegates), representatives in more
than 1,600 companies and a field of action that directly reaches over 2
million workers, we can measure the work done in the 25 years since the
crisis in Spanish anarcho-syndicalism that split the CNT.

Let us examine the details. Over one million workers voted for the CGT
during the last elections to industrial committees. To this number must
be added the 600,000 workers that the CGT represents in collective
bargaining and the 300,000 in the smaller subcontracting shops. A total
of two million people, or 15.4% of Spain's 13 million workers. There are
on average 560 workers in the shops where the CGT is active and the
average number of CGT elected officials is 2.5 by shop.

Here's for the numbers. In the private sector, the CGT is biggest in
banks, the metallurgy sector, communications and cleaning services. In
the public sector, they are most active in the RENFE (railways), Post
Office, in the cities and regional television. While it still has a
modest number of actual members (around 60,000) in comparison with the
membership of the CC-OO (communist) and UGT (socialist) which each have
between 700,000 and 800,000 members, the CGT is no longer simply a token
presence. It is a force which is able to lead local struggles but also
important sectorial struggles, something which has been the case for
many years in sectors of the over-exploited and precarious workforce
such as the call centers, for example. While the UGT and CC-OO have over
the years had a strong policy of class collaboration, on the ground they
often have to opt for an opposite position to avoid seeing entire
sections passing over to the CGT, which is not unknown after a strike or
collective bargaining on wages, hours or conditions in a company. Active
in companies through its union sections, the CGT also intervenes in
other fields as well, thanks to its social action groups and committees
on various issues (anti-militarism, women, young people, Chiapas, ecology).

Read more:

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