The Minister of Labor and Social Security, Yolanda Díaz and the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Reyes, have confirmed this Thursday that they have made an appointment with the social agents next Tuesday to try to close the Scholarship Statute and that this time there is a paper on the table. The latest proposal, sent in January, extended the term to end extracurricular practices to three years, something that was firmly rejected by the unions because it broke the agreement signed with them months ago, in which this margin was set at 12 months. Meanwhile, businessmen have expressed their refusal to say goodbye to this figure.
As La Información has learned, the last document sent from Yolanda Díaz’s ministry would not respect the fixed limits in the first agreement signed with the UGT and CCOO either. The Labor team, in an attempt to get new support from employers, is now betting on tackling the fraud of “false scholarship holders” in another way. Instead of setting a period in which extracurricular practices must disappear, the Ministry is committed to setting a limit to the number of hours that these practices can be understood and ensuring that the scholarships correspond to the studies that the student is studying.
While, instead of setting an expiration date for extracurricular practices, Labor advocates conducting a review after two or three years to assess the progress of these changes and determine if fraud continues to be identified. This change of position would mean a second nod to employers, after the staging of the agreement on Occupational Health and Safety signed in choral form last week. “The social dialogue is not broken”, stressed this Thursday the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Reyes, who has highlighted the 17 agreements sealed during this legislature, as the head of the portfolio also usually does.
However, the desire to preserve extracurricular practices would not only seek to bring positions closer among social agents, but this movement could also be key to adding the support of the pro-independence formations, which had published their doubts about it. The refusal of the universities present in the negotiation to eliminate extracurricular internships, considering that they are the main way for young people to enter the labor market, would have led parties such as the ERC or PNV not to guarantee their support in Congress for the validation of the Scholarship Statute in case it is approved by royal decree.
The union representatives of the UGT and CCOO have transferred to this newspaper that they would evaluate the proposal in the next few hours, given that the document had reached their tables early this Thursday, so they have not yet commented on it. However, this turn by the portfolio could stress the negotiation and further distance the positions, since the two unions have shown themselves in favor of improving what has already been agreed, but not to touch on already closed points. Precisely, the elimination of extracurricular practices within a period of one year and instead, betting on contracts for the acquisition of professional practice or alternation was a key issue within the bilateral agreement.
However, the sources close to the work teams consider that the improvement is substantial, given that instead of focusing on this figure, control over fraud will be strengthened. The main strategy for this is the limitation of the hours that a student can spend in the company or institution in which the scholarship is carried out. This obstacle seeks to prevent companies from filling jobs with internship students, as unions and student associations have denounced what was being done.
From Yolanda Díaz’s portfolio, they have conveyed positive impressions in recent days and have shown confidence in making progress at next week’s meeting. The Government seeks to speed up this matter during the month of March and has conditioned the call of the table to update the regulations on occupational hazards to the closing of the agreement of the Scholarship Statute. In February there was only one meeting between the Ministry and the social agents, which was also branded as unproductive by the latter, since the Executive did not make any new offer to them. Consequently, next Tuesday’s appointment probably means returning to the starting point.