“If you work, you will vote for another”: Mango executives boycott union elections with ‘black lists’

by time news

2023-06-08 22:17:49

Managers of the textile company Mango have allegedly tried to adulterate the union elections in your logistics center Líça d’Amunt (Vallès Oriental) boycotting the candidacy made by UGT of Catalonia. According to documents to which EL PERIÓDICO, from the Prensa Ibérica group, has had access, company officers interviewed one by one at least 365 workers to ask them which option they were going to vote in the next elections, set for June 19. And they made a list with the preferences of each one, noting how some changed their minds and affirmed that they would support another union after said interview. A change of opinion that is due, according to reports from the UGT, to the fact that during these conversations there were coercion and harassment of people who were not in favor of the candidacy preferred by the company.

On the list there is a comment about the affiliation of each of your workers and what you plan to vote in the elections. “If you work, you will vote for Fetico” (alternative union with a presence in the service sector). “Possibly open to listen without misgivings.” “Doubtful”. “Everything seems fine to her, she has not felt coerced at any time, it seems that she is on the side of UGT and does not want to change.” “He didn’t show much interest in voting.” “She is retiring this summer. In principle, the Fetico list supports us ”. These are some of the observations pointed out by those responsible.

Sources from Mango, to questions from EL PERIÓDICO, claim to be unaware of these maneuvers, distance themselves from them and advance an internal investigation to “determine the origin of the possible irregularities that may have been incurred”.

The boycott of union elections can constitute a criminal offence, punishable by prison terms, and implies a very serious infraction of the law on Violations and sanctions in the social order (SMOOTH), with sanctions that in their maximum degree amount to 983.736 euros. Recently, the criminal court number 28 of Barcelona published a sentence in which a businessman from El Prat de Llobregat who threatened to fire a quarter of the staff if CCOO won the union elections, was sentenced to three months in jail.

Mango is one of the largest textile companies in Spain, founded in 1984, it has about 6,059 employees throughout the country, between stores and logistics centers. None of its workplaces is unionized and all lack a works council, as recognized by the company itself. A lack of legal representation of workers that is unusual in companies of this size.

From UGT they explain that they had already tried before and in other company centers, owned by Isak Andic, establish works councils, but they have not been able to put together candidacies, since the candidates to go on the lists ended up being unmarked at the last minute. sources consulted by CCOO agree: “Mango is a company that has historically resisted to unionization. From this union they advance to EL PERIÓDICO that they are withdrawing from the elections in Lliçà, where they were also trying to make their own list, and that they will join any complaint process against them that UGT decides to end up specifying.

Other corporations in the sector of similar sizes have had works councils constituted and through them they manage possible disagreements that may arise between management and employees. In Mango, until now that was through the figure of ‘ambassador‘, a person in charge chosen by vote by the workers who had to mediate between the company and the staff. In all of Spain there are 27 of this kind of delegates.

first elections

On April 19, the UGT of Catalonia promoted the first union elections in the history of Mango, constituting its own list in Lliçà d’Amunt, where some 800 people work. The plant gave the company prior notice, as required by law, of its intention to hold union elections. These can then be attended by any union that manages to put together its own candidacy with employees of the center. At that time, as explained by the union, different hierarchical superiors began to individually address a large part of the workforce to ask them about their union option in the face of the elections. Voting is dated for June 19.

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From these individual interviews a list emerged, to which EL PERIÓDICO has had access, which classifies a total of 365 employees. With their names and surnames, the hours they work, their assigned shift and the person in charge who interviewed each one of them.

List made by Mango managers to find out what each worker will vote in the union elections.

“The management of the company has neither promoted nor has it been aware at any time of the preparation of lists on the union position of its workers. […] Mango firmly condemns any action that involves an attack against the freedom of union election”, company sources told this outlet. UGT has already filed a complaint with the Work inspection of the province of Barcelona and its legal office is finalizing two lawsuits, one through social law and the other through criminal law.

Fetico denies an alliance with Mango

From UGT they denounce that the company has maneuvered to favor the alternative candidacy to theirs, that of the union fetish. This power station currently has a presence in some 340 companies, according to what it says, with a special presence in the service sector. El Corte Inglés is its main stronghold.

The general secretary of Fetico, Anthony Perez, he denies questions from EL PERIÓDICO that no one from the Mango leadership contacted him or someone from the central office he directs to urge them to put together an alternative candidacy. “We see the electoral advance notice when the labor authority notifies us, as is absolutely normal with all the processes that are called, and through people we know, we form our list”, he affirms.

Pérez says he is unaware that the company called at least those 365 listed workers one by one to ask them about their union affiliation and what they would vote for in the next elections. “If that is so, it is very badly done,” he declares. He also denies that anyone from Mango’s leadership orchestrated a campaign to favor his ballot, although he acknowledges that there is the possibility that middle managers autonomously and unilaterally organized the series of interviews, the “political” list and conditioned part of the template to change your vote.

No equality plan

One of the many consequences of not having a works council is the absence of a registered equality plan, something mandatory by law in Spain for any company with more than 250 workers. This is a document that must be agreed upon with the workers in order to diagnose and correct any discrimination that may exist among the workforce due to gender. And, since 2019, the law requires that these companies have registered their equality plan, with a series of formal requirements, before the competent labor authority. In this case, being a company with a state dimension, the Ministry of Labor.

Currently and after four years with this legal obligation in force, Mango lacks a registered equality plan, as confirmed by the ministry directed by Yolanda Díaz. Although she defends that she has carried out “actions to reduce the wage gap in Spain from 2.7% in 2021 to 1.82% in 2022, a figure that will continue to reduce this year.”

UGT has filed a complaint with the Labor Inspectorate on this matter. The fines for not having an equality plan range from 751 to 7,500 euros, although they could rise to 225,000 euros if the absence of it was due to the explicit will of the company to hide discrimination based on sex.

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