Tuesday, January 18

Labor and unions agree to raise the minimum wage by 15 euros per month from September




The Ministry of Labor and the unions have reached a two-party agreement and without consensus with the CEOE to increase the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) by 15 euros. The increase agreed today, up to 965 euros per month in 14 payments, will be applied retroactively from September 1 and against the criteria of the vice president and head of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, who intended to carry out the increase from October. The Government and the unions also agreed today that the SMI, through its progressive revision in 2022 and 2023, reaches 60% of the average salary before the end of the legislature.

Finally, the trade union organizations have accepted the average scenario of a rise of 15 euros for 2021 proposed by Trabajo based on the indications released last June by a committee of experts. In the report of the aforementioned experts, commissioned by the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, a range was proposed to increase the SMI between 12 and 19 euros per month in the current year.

After a marathon day, Labor and unions managed to close an agreement late today in order to raise the minimum wage from September and design the increases until 2023. Early in the morning, UGT sources advanced an imminent pact with the Government to raise the interprofessional minimum wage. Nevertheless, sources of work and CC.OO. They denied the agreement one after the other and assured that there were still some details to be tied. In addition, Calviño, who defended executing the rise since October against Díaz’s proposal, even denied the existence of an agreement closed this morning.

The denial of a pact already outlined with figures and deadlines also came from CC.OO. “Right now There is no closed agreement of the SMI, we want to specify as much as possible so that in the year 2022 the salary is situated at 1,000 euros and that in 2023 it is set at 60% of the average salary in Spain, “said the CC.OO. leader, Unai Sordo, at a press conference this morning. “We are exchanging documents and levels of specification of the proposal for 2021. This issue is not closed and the news that has come out, from CC.OO., we do not validate it because that is not the case,” added Sordo.

The increase once again reaches the limit of the terms. The Ministry of Labor must open the raising of the SMI to public consultation, in a process that lasts for a period of ten days, which left Tuesday September 28 as the only possible date to approve the rise in the Council of Ministers.

Bargain wear

The agreement without the employers represents a before and after in the government’s social dialogue strategy, which until now had managed to close up to eleven agreements on this matter. The CEOE, however, has flatly rejected a rise at a time like the current one in which, they say, there are still many uncertainties on the horizon. After the rumors of the agreement were made public, the president of the National Federation of Autonomous Workers (ATA), Lorenzo Amor, made it clear that now is not the time to raise the SMI. “There is only one reason to raise the SMI now and raise it again in three months: politics and electoral opinion polls,” Amor said on Twitter.

The employers have already warned that this movement will hinder job creation in a context in which the important thing is to prioritize economic recovery and support small entrepreneurs, who have suffered restrictions and stoppages for months of pandemic. As published by ABC based on a study by Cepyme, an increase in the SMI to 1,000 euros in fourteen payments (1,166.67 euros / month) in 2022 (which would mean an increase of 5.3%), and an increase intermediate of 2% (969 euros in 14 payments, 1,130.50 euros / month) would have a negative impact on employment estimated between 60,000 and 130,000 jobs from its entry into force until 2023.

In this regard, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain, Reyes Maroto, regretted this morning that businessmen are not going to support the agreement to raise the SMI. «I think that the dialogue between the Government and the employers is good. We have to seek consensus. I regret that an agreement has not been reached with all social agents, it would have been a good way to redistribute the wealth we generate, “he said before attending an Amazon event in Illescas (Toledo).

Negotiation of the amount

So far, the main obstacle to reaching an agreement with the unions has been the amount of the increase and the deadlines for application. The last meeting, held a week ago, was closed without agreement due to the Executive’s discrepancies with both the CEOE and the unions. Until now, the unions had described the proposed amount of 15 euros as insufficient. From the UGT they have claimed on several occasions an increase of 25 to 30 euros per month for this year to be applied retroactively from last September 1.

For its part, from CC.OO. They have repeatedly stressed the need for a pact to be closed for 2022 and 2023 with the aim of reaching 60% of the average salary in Spain. Sordo himself insisted today that he would accept a rise of about 15 euros per month for 2021 if the agreement “clearly” incorporated the will of the parties to bring the SMI to 1,000 euros in January 2022 with another increase by 2023.

The initial offer proposed by the Government is based on the proposal of the committee of experts commissioned by the Ministry of Labor. In the middle stage, the minimum wage should rise in total by 77 euros gradually, up to about 1,027 euros: 15 euros already in 2021, 31 euros in 2022 and a last increase of 31 euros in 2023.

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