Spain: Thousands of union members march in Madrid for higher wages and better rights

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP
Thousands of union members marched through central Madrid
Thousands of union members marched through central Madrid   -   Copyright  AP

Thousands of trade union members marched in the Spanish capital Madrid on Thursday under the slogan "Salary or Conflict".

The workers want Spain's government and business leaders to agree to increase the minimum salary above the current 1,000 euros a month in response to rampant inflation that has only recently started to slow.

"We want wages to be equalised and the working class to have a little more of a voice," said one woman. "The truth is that the sectors are lagging far behind inflation and price increases in all products."

The unions are looking for a wage increase in line with the galloping inflation that is sweeping the country, and not only for the sectors with a strong union presence.

Carmen Troyano is 55 years old and unemployed.

"Today unfortunately due to the situation we are facing salaries don't cover our basic necessities," explained Carmen. "That's why we are here. We are claiming the salary increases and the implementation of decent rights."

Catholic charity organisation Caritas issued a report on Thursday that concluded that three out of 10 Spanish families don’t have the financial resources to maintain “dignified living conditions”.

Spain's inflation rate reached almost 11% last July, a rate that fell back to 7.3% last October. The employers' association is negotiating increases with the government and trade unions, although it flatly refuses to index them to inflation.