Advertisement

Thousands rally in Spain's capital for pay hikes as living costs soar

Author thumbnail
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Thousands rally in Spain's capital for pay hikes as living costs soar
Protestors wave trade union flags during a demonstration called by the CCOO and UGT trade unions, demanding decent wage increases to maintain purchasing power, on the Plaza Mayor square in Madrid on November 3, 2022. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

Thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid on Thursday to demand higher wages to cope with soaring inflation and energy costs.

Advertisement

Protestors waved red union flags and banged drums as they made their way to the Spanish capital's landmark Plaza Mayor square behind a large banner that read: "Salary or Conflict".

Police estimate some 25,000 people took part in the demonstration, which was called by Spain's two main unions, the CCOO and UGT.

Advertisement

"Either there is a rise in salaries or work conflicts will increase exponentially in our country over the next year," CCOO secretary general Unai Sordo told reporters at the protest.

Like other countries, Spain has been struggling with soaring inflation as a result of the fallout from the war in Ukraine and the reopening of the economy after pandemic-related lockdowns.

Inflation in Spain peaked this summer at 10.8 percent in July, its highest level in 38 years, before moderately slowing to 7.3 percent in October -- still well above normal levels.

"Salaries are still super low" while the cost of "essentials" has soared, María Luisa Ortega, a 57-year-old service sector worker, told AFP at the protest.

A protestor holds a sign reading " 'It's inflation' shouts the thief" during a demonstration called by the CCOO and UGT trade unions, demanding decent wage increases to maintain purchasing power, in Madrid on November 3, 2022. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

She said salary raises must match the rise in inflation.

The protest comes as Spain's leftist government is negotiating with unions and business groups a new increase in the minimum wage, which is currently set at €1,000 ($987) a month.

Far-left party Podemos, the junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's coalition government, is calling for a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage.

But Spain's main business association CEOE has ruled out pay hikes in line with inflation, arguing they will hurt firms, especially smaller ones, although it is open to discuss more modest increases.

The government has vowed to lift the minimum wage to 60 percent of Spain's average salary by the end of its term in office in December 2023, bringing it in line with the level of its European neighbours.

More

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also