March 2, 2021

CCOO and UGT take to the streets to tell the Government that ‘Now it is time’ to dismantle the labor reform and raise the SMI


Dozens of delegates from the CCOO and UGT, led by their general secretaries, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez, have gathered this Thursday in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Madrid to summon the Government to sit at the negotiating tables and proceed to raise the Interprofessional minimum wage (SMI) and the repeal of the 2013 labor and pension reforms, according to Europa Press.

Calviño delays the rise in the SMI until the recovery is "lined up" in 2021

Calviño delays the rise in the SMI until the recovery is “lined up” in 2021

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With masks and respecting the security measures against COVID, although annoyed that they have not been allowed to cut the street as they wanted, the unions have taken to the streets today to tell the Government that “now it is time” to comply with its program and with commitments to workers.

During the rally, the leaders of CCOO and UGT have made a brief intervention in which they have urged the Executive to recover the social agenda so that the end of the COVID crisis does not result in an increase in inequality and poverty.

“The priority continues to be to contain the virus but as soon as the pandemic is contained, the economy is going to recover in an intense way and that growth has to be redistributed among the workers and for this we have plenty of reforms that were made in 2010- 2015 designed to devalue the country, to lower wages and increase inequality, “said Sordo.

The union leader stressed that the unions have proven to be “up to the task” during the health emergency, but has warned that, when a certain normalcy is restored, it will not be possible to get out of the crisis “through the same door” as in the financial crisis of 2008.

“You have to change the handle of that door and the handle of that door is called labor legislation, pension reform and interprofessional minimum wage,” said Sordo, who added that the unions want to “put cruising speed” to these negotiations to have the scenario prepared for the recovery, scheduled for the second half of the year.

From the UGT, its secretary general, Pepe Álvarez, has affirmed that “now it is time” because the workers are “fed up with promises” that are not later transferred to the Official State Gazette (BOE). “We come here to say clearly and loudly that now it is time. We will not spend any longer without demanding a response to the serious economic and social problems of this country,” Álvarez stressed.

The UGT leader has insisted that there are numerous reasons for the Government to sit down to negotiate because, although it has done “many things”, they have clearly been insufficient. “The hunger lines have to end (…) and if we do not take more measures, the way out of the crisis will not be for everyone, but for a few,” he warned.

Certainty for pensions

Both Sordo and Álvarez have called on the Government to launch messages of “certainty” and not contradictory on the sustainability of the pension system; not to grant the CEOE the right of veto in the negotiations of social dialogue and not to launch the message that there is conditionality with respect to European funds so as not to touch labor legislation in Spain.

“The CEOE does not want to enter into negotiations, that is the reality (…) We are not going to allow time to play in favor of not changing anything,” said the UGT leader, who has warned the Executive that, if does not comply with its program, the union mobilizations will increase.

Regarding the pension reform, Álvarez has stated that it would be “comical” what has happened around the period for calculating pensions if it were not for the seriousness of the matter and has indicated that the first thing the Government has to do in this matter is to repeal the 2013 reform.

Both union leaders have also warned that they are not resigned to raising the SMI and have insisted that, if there is no social agreement on the different matters, the Government will have to legislate, “without excuses and without the right to veto.”

The Madrid concentration has been one of the more than 50 concentrations that CCOO and UGT hold this Thursday in all Spanish provinces in demand of the increase in the minimum interprofessional wage (SMI), currently frozen at 950 euros per month, and the repeal of the latest labor and pension reforms of 2013.

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