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Striking metalworkers in southern Spain clash with police on ninth day of mass walkout

Striking metalworkers in the southern Spanish city of Cadiz have clashed with police on the ninth day of a mass walkout over a pay dispute involving tens of thousands of employees.

Labor relations have long been strained in the historic port city on Spain's Atlantic coast, which suffers from one of the country's highest unemployment rates despite being home to a major industrial hub and several tourist draws.

The latest strike began on Tuesday after unions and the FEMCA association of metal-working companies failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.

Picketing workers have cut access to Cadiz's main industrial zone, home to hundreds of companies Airbus, ACS subsidiary Dragados Offshore and shipbuilder Navantia, with bonfires and blockades.

Marches have occasionally turned violent with protesters hurling stones at police who have responded firing rubber balls, although police and unions both say the demonstrations have been mostly peaceful. 

With inflation running at a near three decade high, unions want wage increases to be linked to the consumer-prices index to ensure workers do not lose purchasing power.

They initially sought a 2% pay rise this year, followed by increases of 2.5% in 2022 and 3% in 2023, a proposal that FEMCA described as "unrealistic."

Unions and company representatives met earlier in the morning in Seville, Andalusia's regional capital, to try to reach an agreement that unlocks the strike. 

(Source: Reuters) 

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