Employees outside the collective agreement working at the Foreign Office in the UK yesterday ended the indefinite strike that began on 14 March, but will maintain a weekly protest until all their demands are met.
The decision, according to a statement issued by the workers, was taken at an assembly held on Wednesday afternoon, after the Director General of the Foreign Service, Hilda Jiménez, met with the strike committee to address the issues raised by the group and present the solutions that the Ministry has put in place during these days of protest.
The communiqué explains that at the meeting “the measures to alleviate the loss of pay of the workers were specified and the commitment of the Minister José Manuel Albares with the unions” to include this group in the Spanish security system was reiterated.
The workers who work in the embassy and consulates in the UK are demanding a salary increase of between 15 and 20 per cent to compensate for the loss of purchasing power as a result of the freezing of their salaries since 2008 and the increase in inflation in this country, which would be almost 30 per cent accumulated in this period.
They also complain that after Brexit they had been left at the mercy of the British social security system, instead of the Spanish one, as they were legally obliged to be, and they are also calling for a standardisation of categories, so that there are wage disparities between people in the same job, with older workers earning less than new recruits.
In their communiqué, the workers recognise that, although the solutions offered do not respond to all their demands, the assembly received “positively these advances and in a gesture of good will with the administration” voted in favour of “a reformulation of the strike” to “reduce the pressure” suffered by the public during these 45 days of strike and “explicitly show their predisposition to dialogue”.
For this reason, as of yesterday, the strike became “a weekly protest, with one-hour stoppages to make visible the rest of the demands”. In any case, the workers warn that all this is subject to “the implementation of the solutions proposed by the administration” and therefore the decision “can be reversed at any time” if they consider it necessary. In this sense, they decided to maintain the demonstration called for Saturday 7 May.
The striking workers expressed their unease on 22 May with a communiqué issued by the CSFI, UGT and CC OO unions recommending an end to the strike, after having negotiated with the Ministry, without the presence of the workers, an increase of between 8 and 10% in wages.