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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Unions announce mobilization for the fall

Unions are preparing the ground for a steep decline as wage negotiations have stopped. With open inflation and disagreements with employers over whether to include wage review clauses in contracts, the struggle seems reassuring. CC.OO’s Catalonia leaders, Javier Pacheco, and UGT, Camille Ross, had yesterday predicted “big demonstrations” in September and October.

On Monday, it was Pepe Alvarez, the Secretary-General of the UGT, who chose Felixstow, the country’s largest freight port in the United Kingdom, and strong protests in the United Kingdom, both in the railway sector and the London Underground, as a reference. that “they are a prelude to what is going to happen across the European continent and in Spain”.

The course starts hard. On the one hand, prices are skyrocketing and on the other, growth prospects continue to decline; On the other hand, the employer’s president, Antonio Garamendi, who faces elections in November, is not here to show resilience. In this context, the Agreement on Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC) should be negotiated, which sets the context for the agreements and which, before the summer, were stalled by the application of wage review clauses. In terms of growth, 8% in three years can satisfy both unions and employers, but the former demand these guarantee clauses and the latter reject them outright.

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Employers and unions continue to differ on wage increase in agreements

On the part of the mentors they deny that they can advance in this area. For example, they find it easier to accept higher salary hikes this year, but not to present a price-like situation, leading to great uncertainty. “We will not accept the inflation clause,” he explains at the CEOE.

For its part, the government has been limited to appealing to employers and unions to agree on a wage hike, but without going into detail because, they say, it is a matter of collective bargaining.

Another complex area would be the increase in the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI). The government maintains a commitment to increase it to 60% of the average salary at the end of the legislature. In theory, this would mean moving from EUR 1,000 to EUR 1,049 per month, which is the high band set by experts a year ago. However, on September 2, the same experts meet again to update this figure. The UGT claims an increase of 1,100 euros. In CEOE they don’t pronounce this at the moment, but the precedent of past growth provides clues as to what might be happening. At the time, the government and unions agreed, and employers distanced themselves from the consensus.

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The government says it will increase SMI to 60% of the average salary and the UGT demands that it be kept at 1,100 euros.

“At SMI we have made an unprecedented effort that is helping Spanish families have better purchasing power,” said ministerial spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez, recalling that it has increased by 36% since 2019.

Employer sources emphasize that the increase in SMI is the exclusive responsibility of the government, which only has to be consulted by social agents. In this case, they see a maneuver by the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, to turn a simple consultation into a dialogue to reach an agreement.

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