There will be no Metro workers’ strike during this year’s Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona from February 26 to March 2. Staff voted against the move at a meeting on February 14, with 361 votes against and 274 in favor. Metro workers have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement for several years and are yet to reach terms with public transport operator Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). Last year, a two-day strike during the Mobile World Congress proved hugely embarrassing for Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau and her city council.
Colau herself got involved in lengthy negotiations before the start of the 2016 Congress. But she failed to see a deal struck, leading John Hoffman, CEO of MWC organiser GSMA, to vent his anger in public. Hofmann announced a few days ago that he didn’t want any problems with strikes during MWC 2017 and, although weary TMB staff indicated at the end of 2016 there would be no new industrial action, this wasn’t confirmed until Tuesday.
Even though there will be no strike, conflict remains evident among TMB staff. Negotiations over the new agreement have been relentless, with 56 meetings already having taken place. Before Christmas, staff severely questioned the company committee as well as the board in charge of negotiating the new deal. The committee consists of six trade unions, some of whom frequently change leader. Tuesday’s vote was done by ballot box rather than a show of hands, a sign of the ill-feeling among staff.
English version by Ivet Puig, Eva Ruz and Francesc Millán.
The texts are prepared by journalism students at the Pomepeu Fabra University (UPF), who adapt content from Catalan current affairs every week, adding extra information and explanation to these stories so that they can be understood in a global context.