rising fuel and electricity prices spawned by the energy crisis that triggered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been transferred to other staples such as food, as well as to the wages of employees of large companies for tax purposes, those whose volume of operations exceeds six million euros. If just a few days ago the President Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE)Antonio Garamendi recommended a 3.5% pay increase, data available to the Internal Revenue Service show that the target has already been exceeded.
Thus, the wages of employees of large companies are measured as average gross income– rose by 4.1% in March, six tenths more than the target set by employers. The data for the third month of the year is also well above the data recorded in February by nearly one point and double the data released in the first month of the year. According to the statistics of Sales, employment and wages in large companies (Vesge), which prepares monthly Tax agency Based on value added tax (VAT) declarations and withholdings from employment income for tax purposes, the increase confirms the change made in wages since the beginning of the year, “closely related to the inflationary process that accelerated at the end of the year. segment of 2021.”
Collective bargaining agreements also show this upward trend, albeit with less intensity, with growth of almost 3%, which is close to the target set by the employers’ association CEOE, but still far from the price increase, which, despite the fact that they slowed down in April , reached 8.3% year on year. The industrial sector agreements already provide for a 3.5% increase, and the pay increase in the company sector is already higher than the industry sector agreements. Meanwhile, just a few days ago, unions and employers closed negotiations on the Employment and Collective Bargaining Agreement (AENC) due to “irreconcilable differences” regarding pay review clause at the request of workers’ representatives.
While the CEOE and the unions have disrupted wage negotiations, Diaz is demanding that companies with “decent benefits” raise wages.
The gap predicts mobilization and protests in the street, a context that has already been predicted by the work commissions. From my side, General Union of Workers (UGT) He considered the negotiations for a pay increase exhausted, but left the door open for conversations and agreements on other topics and issues. The postponement of wage negotiations means that the social partners will not sit down at the negotiating table to resolve this issue until next year.
The unions have demanded a 3.5% increase in wages this year – the same percentage that Garamendi has cut – but they have also demanded pay review articles in an environment of higher inflation so that workers maintain their purchasing power. This upward revision was “moderate” for the unions, given April’s inflation of 8.4%. In addition to this salary update, CCOO and UGT also conditioned the negotiations to include a salary review clause. For its part, Second Vice President and Secretary of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, demanded that companies with “decent benefits” take “joint responsibility” for the current situation of uncertainty and understand that “there is no room in Spain for lower or moderate wages”. The minister pointed to some companies and the 64 billion euros in profits of companies listed on the stock exchange, a “historic” figure that contrasts with the set of wage income in Spain, whose data “could be scary.”
Sales of large companies slowed down and barely increased by 2.2% in March, although the average growth for the quarter was 6.6%.
The monthly report prepared by the Internal Revenue Service also shows a slowdown in total sales of large companies, deflated and adjusted for seasonal and calendar fluctuations, which rose only 2.2% in March. Overall, for the first quarter, growth was 6.6%, which is one and a half points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2021. The data for the third month represents the significant slowdown seen in the first two months. months due to the impact that the days of the road transport strike had on industrial activity and trade.
Meanwhile, domestic sales they also experienced significant stagnation with growth of only 0.8%, much lower than in January and February. Meanwhile, export rose by 7.4% in March, also slowing down the intensive growth (more than 13%) in the first two months. Against all odds, the quarter closed up 11.4%, up two and a half points from the previous quarter and one of the highest in the historical series.
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