Felipe López: " The mobilisations will continue until a definitive agreement is reached which guarantees the continuity of the sector and of the mining areas”
After describing as “disappointing” and “a scam” the meeting of the Commission of the Plan for Coal 2006-2012, Felipe Lopez, general secretary of the Industry Section of CCOO, announced a new phase of sustained mobilisation which will have the same intensity and forcefulness as up until now, and challenged the Ministry to put a proposal on the table.
For the Industry Federation of CCOO, the reasons for the Government not finding solutions to the mining conflict “have nothing to do with the economic situation, nor budget restrictions, nor the position of the EU but lie in the area of political decision-making.”
In the same way CCOO find it inadmissible that following the meeting of the Commission on the Future of Coal, that the Unions send further proposals in writing in order to solve the situation of the sector, when they have already done this on several occasions both in writing and orally, none of which have been answered by the Executive.
“Now it’s up to the Government to make its proposals or to state publically what its plan is to avoid closing companies and increasing unemployment in 2012. When we have this in writing then we can say that this Government has made a proposal” explained Lopez during a press conference held in the HQ of CCOO.
Given these new circumstances the Unions have announced a change of strategy in the mobilisations within which will be prominent the unity of action between CCOO and UGT.
Even though the workers who have been on strike for more than 2 months will go back to work today and the miners on stay-down came up yesterday, Lopez wished to make very clear “that we are not stopping the mobilisations. We are aware that we are in a different moment that requires a different strategy. Nobody can hide away from the permanent mobilisation. We are going to do what will hurt them most, where it hurts them most and in the moment that it will hurt them most, with the least price paid by the workers.”
CCOO, find it inconsistent that the Government insist that they back the sector and on the other hand cannot explain how they are going to avoid its closure and refuse any sort of negotiation along these lines.
It is particularly noteworthy that at the start of the last meeting the Ministry said that they had no authority to sign any agreement. The Unions are therefore demanding to know who has the authority to look for a solution.
“We need to know with whom we can negotiate,” said Felipe Lopez admitting that it was difficult to assess what lay behind the calling of a meeting a then say that they weren’t authorised to reach an agreement.
"First they try to justify measures because of budget restrictions, then say the EU was behind the measures, and now they argue that they have no authority to decide. “This is inexplicable,” complained Lopez.
The Union threw into the air a series of questions related to possible motives behind the Government’s desire to close the sector.
Is there a relationship between the Governments strategy and the accumulation of coal by Goldman Sachs in El Musel?
Is there a relation with pushing the participation of USO in the negotiations when they don’t have the minimum representation necessary? There are many questions that need to be answered.
For the Industry Federation of CCOO, the inclusion of USO [a small minority union – translator]] in the negotiations is not a coincidence. The Government “wants to divide the Unions because for them CCOO and UGT are uncomfortable negotiating partners.
“They are looking for a group closer to their position, looking for a group with which they can agree on the closure of the sector”, warned Lopez who insisted that the unity of Action of CCOO and UGT would not break at any time.
In the following days the Industry Federations of CCOO and FITAG-UGT will together specify the actions that will take place in the future. The mobilisations will continue until a definitive agreement, which guarantees the continuity of the sector and of the Mining Areas, is reached.
Spanish Miners' Support Committee