CEOE and unions dissuade the Government from any temptation to protect the rise in wages

bruno perezMadrid Updated: 03/07/2022 15:50h

Neither employers nor unions are for the task of reissuing the famous Moncloa Pacts, at least in regard to their salary dimension. The already historic political, economic and social agreement that ended up being signed in October 1977 by the main political parties, the CEOE and the UGT and CCOO unions, and which is now being claimed again as a reference for surfing the current context of high inflation, included a commitment of unions and employers with the Government to limit wage increases so that they do not feed back the very high levels of inflation existing at that time, when they were around 25%. Almost 45 years later, UGT, CCOO and CEOE have made it clear to the Government on Monday that the salary agreement is a bipartisan issue and that if the Government wants to negotiate a 'rent agreement' with the social agents, that dialogue will have to focus on other issues such as the fiscal framework or the way to contain the impact of energy prices on citizens.

Sánchez had proclaimed on Wednesday in the Congress of Deputies his intention to promote a large 'income pact' in Spain to cushion the new scenario generated by Russia's attack on Ukraine, which in his opinion will materialize in a long period of high levels of inflation, and from the Government today's meeting was also linked to an intention to mediate to achieve a meeting point between the salary demands of the unions and the vocation of the companies to widen their profits after the hard years of the pandemic.

Judging by the statements made by the representatives of employers and workers at the end of their meeting with the Government this Monday, the meeting has served above all to dissuade the Executive from any temptation to intervene in the negotiation between them to determine the rise reference wage in collective bargaining for the coming years. "The Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining is the appropriate framework for the negotiation of wages", has emphasized the general secretary of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, who has underlined the bipartite nature of this negotiation.

Álvarez has also admitted the Government's interest in making visible elements that could be the subject of an agreement. "An income agreement requires a salary agreement, but it is much more than that," said Unai Sordo, the general secretary of the CCOO, in an attempt to mark the spaces for negotiation. Sordo has emphasized the bilateral nature of salary negotiations, but has opened the field to negotiations with the Government in aspects such as the control of energy prices, policies to cushion their impact on the most vulnerable and even fiscal policy, in the who has advocated raising taxes on businesses.

Strictly speaking, the unions seem to admit a more contained rise in wages in 2022, if employers agree to establish wage review clauses that guarantee that workers will not lose purchasing power. in the course of the next two or three years.

UGT and CCOO have also stressed the need to leave pensions out of this eventual 'income agreement', since its current regulation, revaluation with the CPI included, has been the subject of agreement both in the Toledo Pact and between employers and unions.

The presidents of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, and Cepyme, Gerardo Cuerva, have also claimed the bilateral nature of the salary negotiation. Garamendi, who has expressly said that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has not pressured them in any way, has however warned against any temptation to try to take advantage of this situation to regulate "all aspects of the economy" through recipes "of their own from other times" without clarifying what he was referring to.

Yes, it has rejected the union proposal to limit dividends and business profits in the current context.

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