The march in Madrid on Saturday was far from being the success that organizers had hoped for. The turnout of some 250,000 people failed to meet expectations with numbers as low as 100,000 attended.
The Madrid march is a flop: hardly a sixth of those anticipated show up.
Several thousand people marched through the center of Madrid on Sunday to demand equality, wage increases, and price control in the May Day demonstration organized by the CCOO and UGT, which drew 50,000 people, while the Government Delegation in the capital estimates that only 10,000 people attended, or about a fifth of those expected. The unions utilize May Day salary rises as the major argument, sending a strong message to the CEOE employers, whom they accuse of preventing collective bargaining.
The Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Daz; the head of Education, Pilar Alegra; the head of Social Affairs, Alberto Garzón; and the Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodrguez, were among those who took part in the demonstration, which ran from the central Gran Va to Plaza de Espaa for the works in Puerta del Sol. On the other side, the same Delegation sources told Efe that 530 persons participated in the May Day AST march, 100 in the CNT march, and 2,000 in the CGT march.
With acts convened in more than 70 cities throughout the country, the unions demand that the employers sign an agreement that includes “salary formulas that guarantee the maintenance of purchasing power and wage review clauses”, while asking the Government for aid to prevent workers from continuing to become poorer. This time, they took to the streets in support of a labor reform that was approved thanks to a tripartite agreement between the government, employers, and unions, as well as the $1,000 Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) as the period’s main achievements, to which others such as the Pension Law and the ‘Rider Law’ were added.
However, trade unions have already said that they are dissatisfied with these results, particularly in light of spiking inflation, which reached 8.4% in April, according to the most recent INE statistics. The unions are now seeking a pay raise and have warned the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) that if a salary agreement for collective bargaining is not reached, there will be more labor conflict and they will “block” the development of aspects of the labor reform that could benefit businesses in collective agreements.
Sordo and lvarez believe that their compensation increases are reasonable since they do not claim a raise equal to the recovery in inflation, but rather a wage update that enables employees to keep their buying power. They insist, though, on including a pay review provision. Another of 2017 May Day’s demands is price control, which was sparked in part by the effect of increasing energy costs as a result of Russia’s conflict against Ukraine. On Friday, the CCOO’s general secretary acknowledged the significance of the May 1 rally “doing well” and assisting to picture workers’ issues.
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