Madrid supermarket workers plan Christmas strike

© Defotoberg / Shutterstock

Carrefour. Credit © Defotoberg / Shutterstock

In what would be the city’s first food trade strike, the General Union of Workers (UGT) has called for a four-day strike throughout the capital. If executed as planned, stores like Alcampo, La Sirena, and Carrefour would be affected on December 23, 24, 30, and 31. 

Negotiations Stalled

The strike is still not guaranteed, as the UGT is still looking to come to an agreement with employers, although the union has remained in a stalemate for months over contract negotiations as workers have been unable to reach a satisfying conclusion with their employers. 

The UGT alleges that employers have been wrongly delaying the signing of the contract, which would affect 51,000 Madrid workers, reports El Español. In addition to the aforementioned supermarkets, these workers are employees of Hiper Usera, Hiber, and a number of smaller street markets. Due to special agreements outside the UGT contract negotiations, Mercadona and Ahorra Más will not be affected. 

Low Pay, Long Hours

According to El Español, workers are frustrated by the absence of salary increases since January despite inflation and rising food costs, as well as the lack of vacation days and consistently strenuous hours. As part of its negotiations, UGT demands that stockers, clerks, assistants, and cleaning staff, who sometimes receive sub-minimum-wage salaries, get a pay raise, reports 20minutos. 

“We don’t want to go on strike, but we have no choice,” José María Casero, UGT’s secretary of organisation and politics told El Español. “The workers at these supermarkets have miserable salaries and endless days, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.”

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Written by

Cole Sinanian