The Workers" Committees (CC OO— Comisiones Obreras) emerged as a clandestine movement during the Asturian miners" mobilizations of 1958, subsequently combining legitimate activity inside the state-run vertical syndicates with illegal struggles in defence of working-class interests. While its supporters viewed this approach as a tactical innovation, the exiled leaders of the "historic unions" (UGT and CNT) dubbed CC OO "collaborationist". CC OO nevertheless continued to aspire towards syndical unity and hoped to attract all workers, without distinction of political or religious beliefs. This non-sectarian approach was reinforced by flexible organizational structures and workplace democracy, which favoured ideological diversity and ensured that while PCE (communist) members were active in CC OO, so too were Catholic workers, dissident Falangists, socialists and anarchosyndicalists. CC OO spearheaded a resurgence of industrial conflict during the final decade of the dictatorship and eclipsed the "historic unions" in their traditional bastions like Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia. Growth brought increased institutionalization and CC OO became a statewide movement at its 1967 Congress, which also witnessed the ascendency of the PCE. That same year official tolerance ended, a volte-face provoked by CC OO success in the 1966 syndical elections and the advent of the economic crisis.
   State and employer repression did not diminish the mobilizing power of CC OO in the workplace. At its 1976 Congress CC OO consolidated itself as an independent union, heralding a struggle for hegemony with the UGT. Dissenters regarded this development as a break with the traditional goal of syndical unity, and amid growing bureaucratization and PCE influence, the CC OO left wing split. The 1977 Moncloa Pacts highlighted the readiness of CC OO to neutralize revolutionary tendencies in order to ensure the return of democracy. While advocating socialist transformation, its statutes make an explicit commitment to the 1978 constitution, which explains its consistently reformist practice after Franco.
   In 1978, CC OO claimed a membership of 1.8 million and won the first post-Francoist syndical elections with 34.5 percent of the vote. However, by the early 1980s membership was around 800,000 and CC OO was losing ground to the UGT. Nevertheless, CC OO has maintained its strongholds in Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia and Madrid and remains the dominant syndical force in the largest factories and in the construction and metal sectors, underlining its predominantly industrial nature when compared with the UGT. Since the consolidation of democracy, CC OO has adopted a more combative stance, mobilizing jointly with the UGT from the mid-1980s against government austerity measures and unemployment.
   See also: Camacho, Marcelino; political parties; politics; trade unions
   Further reading
   - Balfour, S. (1989) Dictatorship, Workers and the City. Labour in Greater Barcelona Since 1939, Oxford: Clarendon (a thorough study by a leading labour historian).
   - Fishman, R. (1990) Working Class Organization and the Return of Democracy in Spain, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press (a comprehensive overview of labour politics during the transition).
   - Prevost, G. (1984) "Change and Continuity in the Spanish Labour Movement", West European Politics 7, 1.
   - Ruiz, D. (ed.) (1993) Historia de Comisiones Obreras (1958-1988), Madrid: Siglo XXI.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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