Sidenor/Gerdau workers mobilize in Spain

13.05.2008

Unions hold 24-hour strike to protest company's move to increase hours of work.

SPAIN: Workers at Sidenor/Gerdau plants throughout Spain conducted a 24-hour strike on May 8 in protest of the company's move to increase working hours by 40 hours annually per worker, beginning in 2009. More strikes are expected if negotiations fail to bring a resolution.

In 2003, unions bargained for a gradual reduction of hours down to a maximum of 35-hours per week by the year 2008. When Gerdau took control of Sidenor in 2005, the company vowed to respect all rights and benefits negotiated by the unions.

This round of bargaining is the first with Gerdau since the company took over Sidenor. After two months of unsuccessful negotiations the unions have decided to take collective action.

Sidenor/Gerdau workers are represented by the Federación del Metal del Sindicato ELA (ELA-Metala), the Federación del Metal, Construcción y Afines de UGT -- (MCA-UGT), and the Federación Minerometalúrgica de Comisiones Obreras - FM/CC.OO, which are all affiliates of the International Metalworkers' Federation.