Last Monday, May 11, UGT, CC OO, CEOE, Cepyme and the Government signed in La Moncloa the so-called Social Agreement in Defense of Employment, which contains a series of measures to continue the agreement of last March to maintain I live our productive fabric – exemption from quota in the temporary employment regulation (ERTE) files due to force majeure – and extend the unemployment protection of workers affected by ERTE, whatever their modality, with the benefits of computing this benefit period for future benefits and the lack of a grace period. Likewise, the doors are left open to extend both the period of time of this emergency legislation beyond the pre-determined date, June 30, 2020, and the exonerations in the contribution to the ERTE for objective reasons in the percentages and requirements established, where appropriate, by the Council of Ministers.
The agreement has been the fruit of a complex and laborious process of negotiation in which we have all yielded part of our postulates for the common good. In this case, for the sake of the workers affected by the ERTE and the companies that choose to maintain employment in the face of dismissal.
If I look back, I cannot but highlight the work that the social partners have carried out in this crisis, as well as the substantial differences with the decisions taken at other times of crisis also for Spanish society. And it is that one of the elements that stands out the most is that of social dialogue. Since the beginning of the crises, unions have been aligned with the search for solutions aimed at maintaining employment and safeguarding the productive system.
The agreement of May 11, 2020 not only reflects the substantial content referred to, but also determines the need for consultation with the signatory social partners in the event of extension, extension or development of the contemplated measures, articulating a space for negotiation that I hope originate a consensual legislation. Social dialogue is institutionalized, thereby adopting a certain decision, since the signatory social partners have shown that we can put aside our differences, which are many and far-reaching, when necessary.
We have brought a maturity that is due to the proximity with the people who are in the ERTE, to the conviction that without the recovery of the companies the jobs cannot be recovered. Faced with the unilateral decisions of another time, which made the exit of the crisis fall on the backs of the workers, all our effort has been dedicated to safeguarding employment and protecting the people affected by the crisis, demanding the extension of the social network in a continuous way. It is true that there is still a long way to go and urgently urgent situations must be addressed: the extension of the benefits of the agreement beyond June 30 should be the subject of arduous negotiation; protection is not closed and the minimum vital income for this crisis has not yet been approved; It is essential that the European Union provide the solutions that are primarily required by the southern countries.
In addition, we have to face the negotiation of an economic and social reconstruction plan, and for this, the concretion of a stimulus plan for internal consumption aimed primarily at those products made in Spain, tourism, commerce and everything is essential. that moves in its environment. That plan must be the basis so that, once the pandemic is controlled, we can recover jobs and businesses quickly.
A reconstruction project that considers recovery as an opportunity to change our productive and social model, taking as a framework the European pillar of social rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.
A plan that has to be subordinated to the fundamental factors that are presiding over the disharmony of the economy: the protection of health; the safety of workers; employment protection, especially through the extension of ERTE; the protection of people and especially the most vulnerable, maintaining the agreed measures to cover the groups of workers who have lost their jobs and through a new minimum income, as well as the rest of the agreed measures.
Because this crisis will not end with the end of the state of alarm. It is essential to continue applying economic and labor measures that protect people and sustain support for companies, especially SMEs, in order to avoid destroying the productive fabric and employment. That is why it is essential to extend ERTEs as long as they are necessary. If not, the effort made will be diluted like sugar in water and the jobs and businesses that we have managed to preserve will be destroyed.
The May 11 agreement is important, but a broad, serious political agreement is necessary, responsible at the time and for the response of the vast majority of citizens of this country. We would have to talk about a new production model, labor relations, R & D & I, sustainability, public services, public spending, increased tax collection, … Because we cannot limit ourselves to immediacy, the here and now that dominates us as a consequence of this pandemic and the need to face it. We have to rethink the future, our economy, our employment relationships, our social model.
Pepe Álvarez is UGT Secretary General