Aragon: from vehicles to public transport

Labor unrest in Aragon is generally low at the moment, although the tension has been increasing in recent months in the industry and, particularly, in the powerful fabric of automobile suppliers. The impact of the supply crisis on this activity is increasing. The biggest blow has been in IDL (ID Logistics group), an auxiliary of the plant of Stellantis in Figueruelas that has just laid off its almost 200 workers but due to a collateral problem: the loss of the internal logistics contract that it developed for the car manufacturer. There is also a strike called for the end of the year in Bosal, a producer of exhaust pipes located in the Zaragoza town of Pedrola and with 160 employees. They fear a cut in the workforce in the medium term given the foreseeable fall in the workload at the factory.

The blockage in the negotiation of collective agreements has also led to protests in several companies and sectors, the most striking being the partial strike – two hours per shift – carried out between November 18 and 20 at the distribution plant of Inditex in Zaragoza, which was seconded by 90% of its more than 1,500 workers, according to the unions.

Chapter apart is the one who lives the Zaragoza city bus, which has taken 36 strikes in just 20 years. Practically every year periods of work stoppages are called in the city, either by the negotiation of the collective agreement or any other claimn. Currently, bus and bus workers trolley car They are negotiating the collective agreement, each one on their own, and as a measure of pressure they have opted for the strikes, which began on Three Kings Day in the case of Urbos 3 and a month later on the bus.

The claims are similar: they ask for salary increases, a reduction in working hours, improvements for family conciliation and more training. The difference this year, in addition to the fact that they have been chaining days of strikes for more months than usual, is that the strike has coincided with a pandemic and a drastic reduction in the number of users of public transport, which reached 90% in the toughest months of the health crisis and now stands at around 30%.

This has generated a large economic hole in the municipal coffers, of 20 million during 2020 and another 16 million this year. In the Aragonese capital, the city council pays the bus concessionaire, Avanza Zaragoza, for each kilometer traveled by its vehicles, regardless of the number of passengers transported. In the case of the tram, the agreement with the Mixed Company Los Tranvías, contemplates a minimum number of users per year and, if it is not reached, the council must compensate the company. A rebalancing that has meant the payment of 4.3 million to the contract due to the loss of users during 2020.

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The companies’ accounts are not much better and Avanza already quantifies the reduction in turnover as a result of the stoppages at 800,000 euros, so the scenario for negotiating the improvements, the companies admit, is much worse than a year ago.

At this point, and with a view to starting the year 2022 with a strike in public transport, the mayor of Zaragoza, Jorge Azcón, is considering hiring an external mediator figure to be in charge of piloting the negotiations, established from the very beginning. moment. It was already done in 2015, when the bus strike lasted for more than four months.

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