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Thursday, May 26, 2022
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Employers and unions break the table and leave the government without an income agreement

There will be no lease agreement. According to La Información, the authorities were waiting for the end of the May Day celebrations to set the table. And that day has come. After the latest attempt to bring the positions closer, employers and unions confirmed this Thursday that unable to negotiate salary and the negotiations are over. Thus, the government is left without the foundation on which President Pedro Sanchez hoped that social agents would provide him with a national income pact that would contain the escalation of inflation and soften its impact on companies, families and society. the economy as a whole.

After weeks of negotiations, employers and unions could not agree on common recommendations for wage increases for collective bargaining. A stumbling block? Clauses on the annual revision of the CPI, which the CCOO and UGT demanded to guarantee the purchasing power of workers from an increase in the price of the consumer basket and which the CEOE categorically rejects, since, in his opinion, such guarantees ultimately lead to inflationary spiral, as the Bank of Spain warned.

“Trade unions and business organizations negotiating the V AENC consider the negotiation process closed for this year”, announced the CCOO after the last meeting held this Thursday to review the latest proposals exchanged between business organizations and labor unions on wages. “For CCOO, taking into account the growth of inflation, instability and uncertainty in prices, the wage revision clause is fundamental, as the only guarantee of maintaining the purchasing power of wages,” the union explained, accusing business organizations of maintaining their position by not considering such a wage revision clause. in general agreement.

Thus, the parties closed the negotiating table for this year, CCOO assured. While UGT sources acknowledge that wage talks have broken down, they remind that there are other collective bargaining issues that could be discussed later. And they even argue that the salary talks themselves could be revisited in the coming months. And the CEOE is also in this mood, since sources from the business organization they do not rule out the possibility of meeting with the unions later, when inflation is at a more contained level. and allow a larger approach of pos.

The CCOO assures that it is going to “increase the development of collective bargaining, both in industry and in corporate areas”, where they will present proposals made on wage issues at the AENC table, as well as other issues “that contribute to the development both aspects of the recent labor reform and the rest of the rules agreed in the area of ​​social dialogue”. And they warn that “if the position of business continues to slow down the development of collective bargaining, in a year when they will play a fundamental role so that workers can face rising prices, mobilization and conflict will be inevitable“.

Collective bargaining, powder keg

As explained in these pages, the unions have already told their collective bargainers not to back down in areas where employers have the ability to soften the impact of labor reform. Social dialogue sources claim that trade union organizations have already conveyed these instructions to their teams at open tables and are turning negotiations into a real powder keg. At the headquarters of Unai Sordo and Pepe Alvarez They defend this strategy against the CEOE’s closeness in salary negotiations. Meanwhile, from the organization that presides Antonio Garamendi They denounce what they see as “blackmail” by unions and say they will not give in to threats that predict a sharp increase in labor conflict.

For their part, from the CEOE, they point out that “after today’s meeting to try to close the new AENC, the positions of the parties are still far apart and an agreement is not possible at the moment.” In any case, they add, “all these issues will be submitted for consultation to the internal bodies of the CEOE and, in the event that an agreement with the trade unions is not possible, a document of recommendations on collective bargaining will be formulated.” The initial approach, this media outlet has learned, is to recommend a pay increase based on the forecast. Core inflation (lower than the total because it does not include energy prices) and keeping in mind the possibility of dismissal provided for in the Charter of the workers and it allows the company to waive the terms of the collective agreement in exceptional circumstances.

Thus, employers and unions are giving up (for now) trying to reach an agreement that serves as the basis for a high income agreement, as requested by President Sanchez, and they leave the government alone with the responsibility of taking action to prevent inflation from becoming structural.. The Bank of Spain has warned of the need to reach an agreement at the national level, in which all parties make sacrifices: workers accepting modest wage increases and employers limiting their margins. But CEOE, Cepyme, CCOO and UGT couldn’t budge in the negotiations – the parties accuse each other of being rigid – and eventually decided to leave the negotiating table.


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