The social dialogue is fractured with the SMI and leaves the pact of labor reform and pensions promised to the EU in the air

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The agreement reached between the Ministry of Labor – with the approval of the Prime Minister – and the unions to raise the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) by 15 euros this year has left very touched to social dialogue at a delicate moment due to the ERTE negotiations, the labor ‘counter-reform’ and the second part of the pension reform that must be approved by Congress before the end of the year.

The withdrawal of CEOE and Cepyme from this pact and the doubts publicly expressed by the first vice president, Nadia Calviño, about the announcement showed this Thursday to what extent social dialogue has reached a turning point from which it will be difficult to get out.

Three and a half months before the end of the year in which the Government has to carry out these three agreements, the agreement only seems possible in the negotiation of the ERTE and it won’t be easy either.

The distances between employers and unions -aligned with Labor- on the labor reform are insurmountable at this moment, while the second part of the pension reform does not convince the employers either.

No job proposal

CEOE and Cepyme will continue to sit at the negotiating table to fulfill their obligation in social dialogue. But the employer’s association continues to refuse to present a proposal on the basis of the document that Yolanda Díaz presented last summer as a starting point for the ‘labor counter-reform’.

The reason is that they reject frontally that text of Work that at the time the industralists described in public as “ideological” and “Marxist”.

Meanwhile, in the matter of pensions, the autonomous association ATA (integrated in CEOE) refuses to support the proposal of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations of force the self-employed to contribute for their real income, when considering that it is going to suppose an ‘ax’ for a good part of this group.

Support in Congress

Being able to add businessmen to these two agreements is essential for the Government for two reasons. The first, due to the confidence it generates in Brussels, seeing that in Spain there is consensus regarding the reforms that must be undertaken to meet the milestones set by the plan to access aid from Next Generation EU.

The second, more important, because in such a polarized Parliament to present these reforms with the support of the bosses and the unions is necessary to obtain the necessary support for them to move forward. It is difficult for formations such as the PNV to support a unilateral proposal by the Government on labor or pensions that is not accompanied by an agreement with the business world.

However, with the exit of the agreement for the SMI, the president of the employer, Antonio Garamendi, wanted to send a notice to the Government, which in this case is the one who has the last word to raise the minimum wage after consulting with the social agents.

In addition, it has done so consistently, since, as recalled at the headquarters of Diego de León, until nine months ago the Executive was also in favor of waiting and not approving this rise which, according to denounce, is a problem for many small companies and freelancers at a time that is still very delicate for the economy.

The hardest

After a year and a half demonstrating its ability to reach agreements from very distant points, the CEOE recognizes that -with the exception of ERTE- the agreements that remain to be closed between now and the end of the year they are the trickiest and it is very possible that an agreement cannot be reached between now and December.

The The employer will continue to sit at all the social dialogue tables, Although keeping in mind that Garamendi will probably not take a picture again signing an agreement with Yolanda Díaz and the union leaders, Unai Sordo, and Pepe Álvarez, until the end of the legislature because what the companies are at stake with the ‘counter-reform’ work is a lot.

This Thursday employers, unions and Labor had marked the agenda as the day to start negotiate the extension of the ERTE. However, hours before this meeting, the unions rushed to announce an agreement to raise the SMI that does not meet their aspirations, but that shows the Government’s vocation not to alter its commitment that the SMI reaches 60% of the average salary from here to the end of the legislature.

The news It was a surprise for Nadia Calviño, who decided to intervene in the matter, but not for the CEOE, which is also facing the talks to extend the ERTEs, which expire on September 30 with discrepancies with the Government, although in this case, with the possibility of saving them for the common interest of all parties to offer protection to these workers.

What to do with ERTE

According to the data that the Ministry of Social Security advanced this Thursday, the ERTE have returned to mark a new minimum, with 253,000 people under this figure, of which 79,000 are workers who are suspended part-time.

Although the figures show that the economic crisis of the pandemic is being overcome, many of the workers who continue to be affected by an ERTE will not return to their previous jobs because Covid-19 has put companies in trouble. In this context, find mechanisms to help these businesses close and end ban on firing It is a claim of the employers that Trabajo, for the moment, rejects.

With this starting point, the agreement to extend the ERTEs will not be easy for the social agents either and will focus the efforts of the negotiating teams in the next two weeks.

However, the clock is running against the government’s commitments. This week they have returned weekly meetings on Wednesdays to address the labor reform, according to social dialogue sources.

A maelstrom to which the pension dialogue table is added and that will not help to relax the spirits between the employer’s association and the Government at a time when the agreement is vital to receive the next tranche of European funds after advances this summer.

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