Concept

Unión General de Trabajadores

Summary
The Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT, General Union of Workers) is a major Spanish trade union, historically affiliated with the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). The UGT was founded 12 August 1888 by Pablo Iglesias Posse in Mataró (Barcelona), with Marxist socialism as its ideological basis, despite its statutory apolitical status. Until its nineteenth Congress in 1920, it did not consider class struggle as a basic principle of trade union action. Being a member of the UGT implies an affiliation to the PSOE and vice versa. During World War I era, the UGT followed a tactical line of close relationship and unity of action with the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT, National Labour Confederation). The UGT grew rapidly after 1917, and by 1920 had 200,000 members. This era came to a sudden end with the advent of the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, who gave a legal monopoly on labor organizing to his own government-sponsored union. While the CNT opted for a radical confrontation with the regime and were prohibited on this account, the UGT, although in disagreement with the dictatorship, adopted a collaborative attitude in order to continue to operate legally. The UGT grew from 277,011 in December 1930, to 958,451 in December 1931, to 1,041,539 in June 1932. Much of this growth occurred in its land workers' federation, the Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de la Tierra (FNTT), which grew from 36,639 in June 1930 to 392,953 in June 1932, raising the proportion of land workers in the UGT from 13 percent to 37 percent. The influx of these workers (jornaleros) caused the union's radicalisation, and the bloody breakout of the Spanish Civil War deepened the internal fissures that resulted in the departure of Largo Caballero from the position of UGT secretary general in 1937. General Francisco Franco confined the UGT to exile and clandestinity after his victory in the Spanish Civil War until his death in 1975. The Union emerged from secrecy during the democratic transition after Franco's death, as did the communist Workers' Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CCOO).
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