July 21, 2024 | 12:56

Bilbao

Banking unions in Spain call for first strike in 40 years

Banking unions

Mairenis Gomez

March 25, 2024 | 10:25 a.m.

The beginning of an era of demands

On an unforgettable Friday, banking unions rise up in the first strike in four decades. Imagine, 40 years have passed since the last time financial sector employees decided to join their voices in a strike. This March 22, banks from all over Spain, and in particular those of Bilbao and Bizkaia, are at a historical crossroads. Employees, tired of fruitless negotiations, seek to improve their working conditions and salaries. But what has led to this critical situation?

The negotiation that triggered the strike

For months, the unions and the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) have sat at the negotiating table without reaching a satisfactory consensus. The unions, represented by FINE, CCOO and UGT, have fought tirelessly for a fair wage increase and a guarantee clause that protects workers from future compensation. The unions' proposal was clear, a consolidated salary increase of between 12% and 13% for the period 2024-2026, along with additional improvements based on the CPI and an increase in vacation days.

The disappointing position of the employers and the firm response of the banking unions

But the response of the employers has not lived up to expectations. The last meeting between both parties ended without an agreement, which triggered the call for a historic strike. The situation was further aggravated by the coincidence of the strike with the general meetings of shareholders of two large banks, Banco Santander and CaixaBank. This movement not only seeks to demand salary improvements but also to send a clear message about the value and importance of workers in the financial sector.

The voice of the workers resonates in Bilbao and beyond

The strike is not only a call to the employers for better working conditions; It is a cry for dignity on the part of the employees. The workers of Bilbao, as representatives of this movement in the financial heart of Bizkaia, have shown exemplary solidarity. The call for mass participation in the strike has resonated in all corners of the province, demonstrating the unity and commitment of the employees to their cause.

Furthermore, the strike also stands out for being a reflection of widespread discontent with the current management of the financial sector. Despite the million-dollar benefits and increases in senior management compensation, rank-and-file workers have been marginalized. This strike not only seeks to improve salary conditions but also to redefine labor relations within the sector. Putting respect and fairness at the forefront.

Banking unions
The Spanish Banking Association, that entity that should serve as a bridge between workers and managers

The crucial role of unity in banking unions in the face of historic challenges

Without a doubt, the strike on March 22 is not just an isolated event; It is the beginning of a new era in labor relations in the financial sector in Spain. The determination of the workers of Bilbao and all of Spain is a clear indication that change is possible and necessary. Through this mobilization, we seek not only to claim rights but also to set a precedent for future generations of workers.

At this critical time, the solidarity and commitment of bank employees is more important than ever. This historic strike not only marks a milestone in the labor struggle but also highlights the importance of unity and collective bargaining as tools for social and economic change..

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