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(en) cnt nº 425 - DOSIER New normal: A trade union model for the post-pandemic world por Jordi Vega (ca) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 21 Mar 2021 08:18:15 +0200


In this phase of new normality within the usual abnormality, in what refers to the world of work, we will be able to see how the plans of the economic powers are developed to take advantage of the situation created by Covid-19. As a result of the slowdown in the economy and the situation of uncertainty created (conveniently underpinned and magnified by the main media and the various tools for creating opinion through social networks), employers, governments and large investors have seen an opportunity to advance all those measures that they already planned to take in the context of the announced recession that from the end of 2019 was announced for 2021.

SMEs are the ones that have overwhelmed the outdated majority unions, trapped in a model, that of unitary representation, with its Works Councils, its Delegates and staff delegates and its subsidies, outdated and ineffective.

We come from a scenario of absolute defeat of the unionism of concertation, in the context of the dismantling of the welfare state as a result of the economic crisis of 2007, with massive job insecurity, the practical disappearance of the unions in the majority of companies in the service sector thus eliminating any hint of union tradition, and the use of new technologies to blur or even deny the existence of an employment relationship between employers and workers. A defeat of the official unionism recently manifested in the "NISSAN does not close" but in the end it closes, which will be followed by a long chain of "does not close" but will eventually close, which is nothing more than the final agony of unions accommodated to the unitary representation model designed and outlined in the late 70s and during the 80s of the last century. Outside the reality of the Spanish economic structure, with little contact with the younger generations of workers, and with a constant loss of affiliation since the beginning of the s. XXI, this unionism, which likes to present itself in public as the majority, has been an easy prey for the labor rights steamroller launched on the occasion of the State of Alarm and the consequent economic stoppage of March 2020 due to the pandemic. and with a constant loss of affiliation since the beginning of the s. XXI, this unionism, which likes to present itself in public as the majority, has been an easy prey for the labor rights steamroller launched on the occasion of the State of Alarm and the consequent economic stoppage of March 2020 due to the pandemic. and with a constant loss of membership since the beginning of the s. XXI, this unionism, which likes to present itself in public as the majority, has been an easy prey for the labor rights steamroller launched on the occasion of the State of Alarm and the consequent economic stoppage of March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Employers have acted with an excellent degree of coordination to take advantage of the situation created by the pandemic. The need for a new union model capable of dealing with the current situation is obvious.

Companies have acted as if they couldn't afford to pay their staff for at least a month or two, as if they were middle-class families living from day to day. Those same SMEs with eternal staff shortages, taking refuge in a fearful working class ready for marathon days and heavy workloads; that hide profits and do not reinvest thanks to the various formulas of "creative accounting"; who pay hefty salaries for the management structure and even so the personal expenses are borne by the company; that subcontract, precarious and breach collective agreements; that, in short, deceive their staff and ignore legislation. The same ones that left workers without information and without protection and ran to telework from their second homes at the time of the outbreak of the health crisis. Those who ignored the regulations on Occupational Risk Prevention. Those who adapted teleworking in their most convenient way and also sent people to ERTE to pay the SEPE. Some SMEs that deny their workers their right to participate in the design of the work calendar, but who ran to look for them to sign an ERTE without any information or justification. All those are the ones that have overwhelmed the antiquated majority unions, trapped in a model, that of unitary representation, with its Works Councils, its Delegates and staff delegates and its subsidies, outdated and ineffective.

With the "NISSAN does not close" but that in the end it closes, which will be followed by a long chain of "it does not close" but that will end up closing, ... it is nothing more than the final agony of unions accommodated to the model of unitary representation.

In this context, from the CNT we deployed our own union model in the companies that we have been perfecting for more than a decade. And after 6 months of a pandemic and its corresponding effects on the labor market, we can affirm that it is the only way to revitalize the union struggle as a way to cushion the precariousness that runs freely under all those legal fictions that the majority unions allowed at the time. created (temporary, subcontracting, wage containment, social dialogue ...)

One of the problems has been the erratic discourse of the government regarding the use or not of masks, gloves and other protective elements. This erratic discourse combined with the lack of knowledge among workers regarding the prevention of occupational hazards has led to a late, poorly coordinated and incorrect use of protection elements. All this could have been avoided by using the union presence in the companies both to distribute these elements and to provide adequate training for their correct use. This has not been possible because the union model of Works Councils and staff delegates does not have people trained in this field.

As it is based on having elected representatives with little connection to their unions (if they are unionized), they do not have the most basic knowledge of risk prevention. In turn, this lack of knowledge means that from this union model it is not possible at any time to interfere or influence the decisions of the company, beyond the distribution of work calendars at the beginning of the year, so that companies, accustomed to looking for their sole and exclusive benefit have endangered the health of society as a whole with their criminal lack of basic measures. In a context of unitary representatives without any union vocation, beyond the enjoyment of the famous union hours, the fact that our Union Sections from the very beginning of the pandemic promoted meetings,

The fact that our Union Sections from the very beginning of the pandemic promoted meetings, requests for material, complaints to the Labor Inspectorate, contributes to making the difference between the places where we have a presence and those where we do not.

Another problem has been the massive negotiation of ERTEs where it has been negotiated without knowing the real economic status of the companies and people have signed practically blindly to go to unemployment without any type of compensation measure and without any type of control or criteria in the disaffections. All this has opened the door to massive fraud of being in ERTE and simultaneously working or teleworking; or being unaffected by an ERTE working overtime; or blatantly lying about the real loss of workload to have four people throwing hours like mules while the state pays most of the workforce, from ERTE. In many of these companies, in the cases in which it was possible to negotiate, the legal representation of the workers negotiated, the technical name of the unitary representation.

In short, all this could have been avoided from a model that is built with union representation, which prioritizes the protection of people, both at the level of job stability and at the health level, as a way of getting their participation. This is the only coherent and realistic way to generate pressure and make companies have to negotiate, since unionism is a thing of many @ s. This is our way of doing trade unionism.

In the new normal, within the usual abnormality, we cannot afford the luxury of living in an economy whose labor relations are practically medieval. Of authentic servitude. And for this, it is inevitable to change the union model.

https://www.cnt.es/noticias/un-modelo-sindical-para-el-mundo-post-pandemia/
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