Translation of the letter published in: Termino una etapa - Una despedida a medias
I am taking the liberty of addressing you as such, although I do not know some of you personally. However, that is how I feel about you after sharing with you (by e-mail, by means of my blog or recently on Facebook, without asking for your permission in the case of some) for quite a while some reflections, information and adventures, based on my trade union work, along with some trade union and political considerations.
I would now like to briefly explain why, after the reports on India, this will be my last direct communication related to this period of my life, which is ending after slightly more than 50 years of trade union work in the labour sector (after participating in university trade unionism during the previous 9 years).
Seven years ago, shortly after my 70th birthday, I retired from an administrative point of view but continued my trade union work linked to organised trade unionism in the Federations of CCOO (FITEQA first, and then Industry), as well as in European and international Trade Union Federations (now IndustriALL European Trade Union and IndustriALL Global Union). But this link is coming to an end. This concludes quite a few years of participation in demands, mobilisations, negotiations, trade union agreements and disagreements, collective agreements and restructurings, of involvement in corporate social responsibility, in global framework agreements and transnational trade union networks.
This has been a trade union experience of extraordinary personal interest that has also, in my opinion, proved useful in promoting collective action to improve living and working conditions in fields ranging from the workplace to the global world. An experience that I have recorded, out of a sense of responsibility, in reports and comments aimed at those who had entrusted me with a certain degree of representation to that end, and at a wide-ranging space of action and opinion interested in such matters. Reports and comments that were also part of my effort to better understand what I was doing.
Below is a brief summary of my social –mainly trade union– work during this time:
· 1957-1961 and 1964-65. Barcelona School of Industrial Engineers (ETSIIB): Course adviser, Secretary of the Faculty Chamber of the SEU (official Spanish student union during Franco’s regime), person in charge of the Culture and Library Committee, being elected for all of this by my fellow students. Co-founder in 1958 of the extra-legal Inter-Faculty Committee of the University of Barcelona (the “Inter,” forerunner of the University of Barcelona’s Democratic Union of Students or SDEUB). I later went back to university, from 1980 to 1984, to study law in this case.
· 1962-1964.- Exile in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), to escape arrest from Franco’s police and Coronel Eymar’s Court “to repress communism and freemasonry.” I enjoyed an interesting and frustrating experience of “real socialism” in the GDR.
· 1966-1969. Participation in the Local Workers’ Commission of Barcelona, the Chemistry Workers’ Commission, the Democratic Association of Technicians of Catalonia attached to the CCOO.
· 1969-1975. Franco’s “political-social brigade” issued a warrant for my arrest. I had joined the “Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya” (PSUC) in 1958: underground activity involved in its Secretariat, Executive Committee and Barcelona Committee, and the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE). Organisation secretary in Barcelona and the person in charge of the PSUC’s “Core of the workers’ movement”). Person in charge of the communist cell in the SEAT company, political management of labour action in the Besós Power Station, Hispano Olivetti, Maquinista, Baix Llobregat, …
· 1975-1978 and 1980-1982. Albert Fina - Montserrat Avilés Labour Legal Consultancy. Collective Bargaining Consulting: Metal de Barcelona, La Vanguardia, Catalana de Gas, General of the Merchant Navy (with the Free Trade Union of the Merchant Navy –SLMM), …
· 1978-1980. UGT of Catalonia: Technical Committee, Collective Bargaining Consultancy of Metal de Barcelona, Catalana de Gas, …
· 1982-1989. Local Union of CCOO in Baix Llobregat and Metal Federation of CCOO in Catalonia. Metal sector Collective Bargaining Agreements in Barcelona, Motor Ibérica, Roca Radiadores, Unidad Hermética de Sabadell, Condiesel, La Seda de Barcelona, …
· 1989-2016. State Chemical and Textile Federation of CCOO (FITEQA-CCOO), then Industry (CCOO-Industry): Restructuring (provisional downsizing plans and trade union action) of the Spanish Fertiliser Industry and La Seda de Barcelona. Collective Bargaining Agreements and Company Pacts: General of Chemical Industries, of Textile-Clothing and of Perfume Industries, Michelin, Repsol, Firestone, Fertiberia, CEPSA, Carburos Metálicos, BASF, … CSR: Inditex, Repsol, Mango, El Corte Inglés, …, State Council of Corporate Social Responsibility (CERSE). Coordinator of the Global Framework Agreement of FITTVC (then IndustriALL Global Union) with Inditex. This CSR work has taken me to 15 countries in 4 continents, to visit more than 100 factories, speaking with several hundred workers therein, with their representatives and trade unions, seeing and becoming familiar with living and working conditions all over the world as part of trade union action in favour of “decent work.”
This has been a journey with the following key moments: School of Engineers and the “Inter,” the PSUC and PCE (Barcelona and SEAT), and, as part of CCOO, the General Agreements of the Chemistry, Textile and Fertiliser Industries and Michelin, and the Global Framework Agreement with Inditex.
I feel privileged to having been able to carry out and experience this work. Thanks to it I have experienced and learned a lot of trade unionism, I have come into contact with many people from all over the world, with many colleagues in Spanish, European and global trade union organisations, many of whom have become my friends.
Since I believe I still have sufficient working capacity to do so, I have decided to begin a new phase in my life. Now, at the beginning of 2017, I have finished most of the organised trade union work that I have been carrying out in recent years, mainly the coordination of the Global Framework Agreement between the International Trade Union Federation “IndustriALL Global Union” and Inditex, whose full responsibility has been taken over by my friend and colleague Víctor Garrido (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will continue collaborating with IndustriALL Global Union and CCOO-Industry in preparing and carrying out the events to commemorate this Framework Agreement’s tenth anniversary (in the ILO, in Madrid and in Inditex workplaces in Spain). Such events and the congressional process of CCOO will mark the end of my organised link with CCOO-Industry and IndustriALL Global Union. I will continue both as a member of CCOO and collaborating with the trade union and other groups in any way that they feel I can be useful.
The end of my organised trade union activity will probably lead to a reduction in the publication of notes and reports in my blog (www.iboix.blogspot.es), since it has mainly been based on reports and comments derived from such work.
I am moving back to Barcelona in late April. Until the end of my trade union work in mid-2017, I will continue using my trade union e-mail (email@example.com), in addition to my personal one both now and in the future: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My projects, once I finish my direct trade union work in mid-2017, will consist in resuming work on my memoirs (the first part that I published, covering up to 1977, is available at Pasión por el sindicalismo - mis recuerdos, which I plan to finish before the end of 2017. And in preparing a PhD in Law that will be a legal and trade union reflection on globalisation, global trade unionism and corporate social responsibility, which I expect will take me a few years.
And then we will see ...
Very best wishes,