Metal workers and police clash in Spain amid inflation protest

Metal workers and police clash in Spain amid inflation protest

Madrid Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: — Metal workers and police clashed Tuesday in the southern Spanish city of Cadiz at the end of a protest march to demand wage hikes in line with the country’s soaring inflation rate.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to set up barricades in the coastal city’s streets.

The demonstration marked the eighth consecutive day of protests and coincided with a strike that affected the entire province of Cadiz in support of the struggle of metalworkers.

Inflation in Spain has risen to its highest level in years, driven by energy costs. In October, it was 5.5%. This infuriated many people whose wages stagnated. Hundreds of jobs were also lost in the province of Cadiz, which has an unemployment rate of 23%, one of the highest in Spain.

Trade unions representing metal workers and employers have been negotiating for days without reaching an agreement, although they said talks would continue.

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Jose Muñoz, general secretary of the FEMCA Metalworkers Association, told local public radio Canal Sur that employers are offering a 2% raise, negotiable each year. He said the unions do not accept it.

Workers cut off roads and bridges leading to Cadiz during the past week. They also set fire to some cars and barriers. There were no injuries or serious damage. The general tone of the protests is peaceful.

Most of the employment in the province’s mineral sector is in shipbuilding. Cadiz, a city of 116,000 people located on the coast near the Strait of Gibraltar, is a blue-collar city where trade unions have deep roots.

There are 700 companies in the metalworking sector in the province of Cadiz, employing about 20,000 people.

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