APTOPIX Spain Workers Protest

Protesters, left, march during a strike organized by metal workers in Cadiz, southern Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.

MADRID (AP) — Trade unions representing metalworkers in the southern Spanish province of Cádiz called off a nine-day strike and workers began returning to their jobs Thursday after reaching a pay deal with employers.

The agreement still needs to be approved by workers, who will vote Friday in a ballot. Details of the deal were not immediately made public.

The open-ended strike began Nov. 16, with street protests at times turning violent as riot police clashed with strikers and their supporters.

Workers demanded a pay rise in line with the surging inflation rate, which in October stood at 5.5%. In the meantime, the wages of many people have stagnated.

Hundreds of jobs have also been lost in the province of Cádiz, which has an unemployment rate of 23%, one of Spain’s highest.

Most of the employment in the province’s metal sector is in shipbuilding. Cádiz, a city of 116,000 people located on the coast near the Strait of Gibraltar, is a blue-collar city where trade unions have deep roots.

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