Businessmen and unions break off the negotiation for this year's salary increase and postpone it until 2023

Gonzalo D. VelardeFOLLOW, CONTINUEMadrid Updated: 05/05/2022 15:25h

The worst omens for the future of labor conflict in Spain are confirmed. The social agents gave up this Thursday for dead the negotiation of the Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC) with which it was expected to set a framework for the revaluation of wages for this year, given the pressing increase in inflation that threatens to take an unprecedented bite in 2022 to the purchasing power of workers.

In this way, despite the fact that prices increased by 8.4% in April while the increases agreed in the agreements signed until March include wage increases of 2.4% on average -according to official statistics-, no There will be a reference framework for employers and unions to agree on this year's revaluations.

As unions point out to ABC, the negotiation for remuneration updates within the framework of the AENC will resume in 2023.

This confirms the arrival of a hot summer at the negotiating tables of the companies, where the unions have already threatened to increase labor conflict due to the lack of agreement on these revision clauses by the IPC. "The AENC's negotiating unions and business organizations consider the negotiation process closed for this year," the CC said in a statement. OO. confirming that the social agents have held a meeting today to address the situation of the AENC after the latest proposals exchanged between business and trade union organizations on wages.

As ABC advanced, already last week the positions between the CEOE and the unions were at the opposite end of the spectrum due to the inclusion of the review clauses. "The insurmountable difference is related to the salary review clause," confirm the unions.

"Taking into account the growth of inflation, the instability and uncertainty of prices, the wage review clause is fundamental, as the only guarantee of maintenance of the purchasing power of wages," warn the trade union centrals, stressing that business organizations maintain its position of not contemplating said review clause in a general agreement, "so the parties have closed the negotiating table for this year."

CEOE Alternative Proposal

In this sense, the businessmen confirmed the lack of agreement in this last meeting and recognize the difficulty of reaching an agreement at this time. "After today's meeting to try to close a new AENC, the positions are still very far between the parties and the agreement does not seem possible at the moment," sources from the employer's association point out.

Although, they confirm from the organization that all these issues and conclusions drawn from the meetings will be submitted for consultation in the internal bodies of CEOE and, "in the event that an agreement with unions is not possible, a document of recommendations will be formulated for collective bargaining”.

On this aspect, the employers have already transferred to this medium the impossibility of accessing the incorporation of these clauses, since it would mean a new component of increased labor costs in the short term. To which is added an already delicate situation for the balance sheets of companies that have seen their profit margins shrink due to the
strong price increase
underpinned by the lack of supply of raw materials, the cost of energy and the war in Ukraine.

Precisely, just before the cessation of the talks to agree on the reference salary framework was known, the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, asked that the Government "should not intervene" in the income pact, since it is an agreement between workers and companies.

This was expressed during the XXXVII Reunió Cercle d'Economia in Barcelona, ​​where he called for prudence and "great care" in the face of the proposal to index wages to inflation. On the possibility of a strike call by the unions, he has asked for "responsibility", since he has assured that it is a "very delicate" moment for the economy.

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