Unión General de Trabajadores

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Workers' General Union
Unión General de Trabajadores
HeadquartersMadrid, Spain
  • Spain
960,000 members (2017).
86,530 union representatives.[1]
Pablo Iglesias Posse
Key people
Pepe Álvarez, general secretary
AffiliationsSpanish Socialist Workers' Party
International Trade Union Confederation
European Trade Union Confederation

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. The UGT was closely associated with the PSOE.

During the World War I era, the UGT followed a tactical line of close relationships 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.[2] 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, the Patriotic 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.[3] 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). The UGT and CCOO, between them, constitute the major avenues for workers' representation in modern Spain, with the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) a distant third.


The UGT declares itself to be an institution of productive workers, organized along lines of trades and liberal professions, which respects freedom of thought, leading toward the transformation of the society, in order to establish it on the basis of social justice, equality and solidarity.

Federations and foundations[edit]

Current affiliates[edit]

UGT headquarters (Madrid).
Local UGT office, Ávila, Spain
Local UGT office, Corunna.
Union Abbreviation Founded
Federation of Industry, Construction and Agriculture FICA 2016
Federation of Public Service Employees FeSP 2016
Federation of Services, Mobility and Consumption FeSMC 2016
Pensioners' Union UJP 1978
Professionals and Autonomous Workers' Union UPTA
Small Farmers' Union UPA 1982

The Unión de Trabajadores por Cuenta Propia (UTCP, Union of Self-Employed Workers) is not an organism of UGT. It is a bottom-up association, formed by the farmers' union UPA and the professional and autonomous workers' union, UPTA, who united in this manner to enhance their representation inside the Union and to form a united front on factional issues where they have common interests.

Former affiliates[edit]

Union Abbreviation Founded Left Reason left Membership (1981) Membership (1994)
Federation of Agriculture and Food Processing FTA 2001 2011 Merged into FITAG N/A N/A
Federation of Commerce 1974 1993 Merged into FECHTJ 6,552 N/A
Federation of Commerce, Catering-Tourism and Games FECHTJ 1993 2014 Merged into SMC N/A 51,011
Federation of Communication, Shows and Various Trades CEOV 1993 Merged into FeS 11,145 N/A
Federation of Education Workers FETE 1931 2016 Merged into FeSP 1,350 39,093
Federation of Hospitality 1979 1993 Merged into FECHTJ 8,179 N/A
Federation of Industrial and Agricultural Workers FITAG 2011 2016 Merged into FICA N/A N/A
Federation of Light Industries FIA 1992 2011 Merged into FITAG N/A 69,527
Federation of Public Services FSP 1982 2016 Merged into FeSP 6,888 133,501
Federation of Services FeS 1993 2016 Merged into FeSMC N/A 59,346
Federation of Services for Mobility and Consumption SMC 2014 2016 Merged into FeSMC N/A N/A
Federation of Transport, Communication and Sea TCM 1977 2014 Merged into SMC 21,942 71,629
Metal and Construction MCA 1998 2016 Merged into FICA N/A N/A
National Federation of Agriculture FTT 1930 2001 Merged into FTA 11,979 23,728
National Federation of Banking, Credit and Savings FEBCA 1977 1983 Merged into FEBASO 4,523 N/A
National Federation of Banking, Savings, Insurance and Offices FEBASO 1983 1993 Merged into FeS N/A N/A
National Federation of Chemicals, Energy and Related Industries FETIQUE 1982 1992 Merged into FIA 14,560 N/A
National Federation of Construction, Wood and Related Industries FEMCA 1977 1998 Merged into MCA 22,701 37,166
National Federation of Food Processing and Tobacco FAyT 2001 Merged into FTA 10,452 27,511
National Federation of Insurance, Office and Office Workers FETSO 1983 Merged into FEBASO N/A
National Federation of Metalworkers METAL 1930 1998 Merged into MCA 49,348 100,774
National Federation of Mineworkers 1992 Merged into FIA 9,652 N/A
National Federation of Textiles and Leather 1979 1992 Merged into FIA 11,401 N/A

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Los sindicatos recuperan afiliados por segundo año consecutivo tras la crisis. 20 Minutos, 04/02/2018.
  2. ^ Casanova, Julián. 'Terror and Violence: The Dark Face of Spanish Anarchism' in International Labour and Working-Class History, 67 (Spring 2005), pp. 79-99. p. 88.
  3. ^ Preston, Paul. The Coming of the Spanish Civil War: Reform, Reaction and Revolution in the Spanish Second Republic. Routledge. New York. 1994. p. 78.

External links[edit]