The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, yesterday harshly attacked the unions that have made the strike not a strategy to put pressure on difficult negotiations, but an end in itself. Thus, he denounced that the concatenation of economic crises has been followed by a trail of strikes and did not hesitate to regret the image that Euskadi transmits with high labor conflict. «We have the sad honor of suffering 50% of the strikes in the entire State. But it is even more devastating, if possible, that certain union agents take pride in it,” he said, in a clear reference to the ELA union. “They have turned a measure that should be exceptional into their normal practice,” he added.
In Urkullu’s opinion, nationalist unions consider that “first comes the strike and then everything else.” Thus, he did not hesitate to link the ELA and LAB strategy to Bildu’s political approaches and objectives. «It responds to a deliberate strategy and, by the way, also coincides with Sortu’s political plan for the period 2023-2024. This document mentions, to give the latest example, the strike called last Thursday. This plan establishes a strategy based on terms such as “permanent social unrest”, “assault on power” or “unilateral path”,’ he denounced.
The Lehendakari called on citizens to keep “very much in mind” this communion between the nationalist left and some union approaches because, he said, “it is a deliberate strategy, aimed at spreading a catastrophic and negative social image of the Basque reality that has nothing “to do with what we live.”
In the face of confrontation, he defended the advantages offered by negotiation and dialogue to achieve labor objectives. Thus, he gave as an example the agreement reached by the PNV with Pedro Sánchez to guarantee the prevalence of regional agreements over state ones. And along the same lines he defended the social dialogue table in the Basque Country, where representatives of the Government, the employers’ association and the UGT and CC OO unions regularly meet. “It is incomprehensible that the union forces that define themselves as the ‘Basque union majority’ continue not wanting to participate in the Basque social dialogue table,” he said.
«Kneel down, accept all the demands and let the sun rise wherever it wants or in Antequera. They also know it in the business world. No, that would be an exercise in irresponsibility,” he said to justify the Government’s resistance to accepting some union demands.
On the other hand, Urkullu outlined in the forum the main achievements of his Government in the last decade and especially highlighted the resilience of the Basque economy to successive economic crises, the last two led by covid and the invasion of Ukraine by part of Russia. In this context he referred to the sharp reduction in the unemployment rate in the last decade, which has gone from 16.6% to 7.5% at the end of September and the fact that there are more than a million people working: “There are 125,000 more than ten years ago.”
The Lehendakari expressed his desire that in the coming years the unemployment rate in the Basque Country will fall below 6%, thus approaching what is considered full employment, to also place the autonomous community among the ten European regions with the highest income per inhabitant.
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