Tuesday, June 15

Tension at the pension reform table after a surprise proposal from Escrivá


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The “imminent” agreement announced yesterday by the Social Security Minister regarding the first part of the pension reform began to get complicated just a few minutes after the words of José Luis Escrivá. The ministry yesterday sent the social agents a draft agreement that did not please the businessmen at all because, sources close to it explain, it does not include some of their petitions on key issues such as forced retirement, the punishment of early retirement or the new quotas for the self-employed. The ministry had called a meeting for Monday next week in which it was expected there would be white smoke and, however, it was finally canceled due to business complaints, according to the same sources.

The document proposed by Escrivá, to which ABC has had access, reflects some of the advances in the negotiation that have brought the agreement closer to the unions, such as the withdrawal of the revaluation formula with the CPI that proposed to absorb the gains in purchasing power of years of negative inflation in the coming years. But, nevertheless, it does not include enough changes to convince employers, who neither agree with forced retirement in the agreements, nor with punishing early retirements and, furthermore, the business organization is very surprised that the design of a new contribution system for the self-employed without having previously negotiated.

Specifically, Escrivá proposes that the quota for self-employed workers ranges between 90 and 1,220 euros per month once the transitional period of 9 years has ended. In 2023, an intermediate price would be established by tranches that will grow according to income. According to the proposed tables, the self-employed with income of 3,000 euros or less will have a fee of 200 euros per month in 2023, which will increase until 245 euros for those with an income of between 9,000 and 12,600 euros. For higher tranches, the fee amounts to 260 euros per month (up to 17,000 euros of annual income), up to 380 euros (for income between 47,000 to 48,841 euros) and 400 euros for higher income.

This has been one of the biggest surprises that the employer has found in the new document, as Escrivá promised to negotiate the development of the new contribution system for the self-employed. “At ATA we have not received any proposal that includes the design of the new contribution system,” says the president of the organization and vice president of the CEOE, Lorenzo Amor.

«Punishment for early retirement»

The Minister of Social Security has already put several documents on the negotiating table and the truth is that the new document files his proposal for forced retirement at age 68, but he has not been able to satisfy CEOE either, against this penalty. According to the text, it is maintained that collective bargaining may not force the worker to retire when he is less than 68 years old, but backtracks and deletes from the document the establishment of a transitional regime for the clauses that have been agreed upon before the pension reform takes effect. Now, the minister makes it clear that these clauses can be applied while the agreement is in force.

The initial idea of ​​José Luis Escrivá was to prohibit, without any limitation, forced retirement in the agreements in order to favor the prolongation of working life, but the CEOE’s rejection opened the door to later modifications. The figure of forced retirement was recovered by the Government in 2018 after repeated requests from the employer, after it had been banned by the Executive of Mariano Rajoy in 2012, in the midst of the financial crisis.

The government reforms make the punishment of early retirement one of the axes of its reform, a measure with which the employer does not agree either, taking into account that many business sectors such as banking or the automobile sector are forced to resort to this extinction formula to cope with periods of adjustment.

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