May 14, 2021

Companies step on the accelerator of the ERE | Economy

Companies step on the accelerator of the ERE | Economy

The year has not been able to start worse for employment. Big companies like Vodafone, Caixabank or Cemex they have announced that they are going to do without almost 4,000 workers in Spain. Some adjustments that add to those already initiated by other companies such as Alcoa (which has just signed a six-month truce for its dismantling in Galicia and Asturias), Naturgy, Unicaja, Esteve, Lacoste, Douglas, Adolfo Domínguez, H & M, Havas Media, Transportes Martínez, Unipost, Europistas, Vestas … and those that are planned in Banco Santander or in the Endesa thermals, for example.

The ghost of the employment regulation files (ERE) again intimidates some workers who have not yet recovered from the devastation caused by the Great Recession. "We live in turbulent times, with a lot of instability, in which companies are discounting that the evolution of the economy is not going to be good," says the head of the Baker McKenzie workplace, David Díaz. The effects of the trade war between the United States and China, the Brexit and the rise in interest rates in Europe are worrying. And, inside the house, the political uncertainty, the tax increase projected by the Government and the return of nut that is wanted to give to the labor reform of the PP, to which the companies "are anticipating with the restructuring of personnel so that could come from the legislative field ", appreciates the lawyer.


Although Díaz does not think that collective dismissals will once again become the most used currency, as happened during the crisis, he does believe that in 2019 employment will be destroyed. Federico Durán, Professor of Labor Law for a University of Córdoba and of counsel de Garrigues, is not so pessimistic. It talks about the coincidence in time of several important processes, "But the draft setting has already been made", He says. In his opinion, Spaniards "we have to get used to the fact that corporate restructuring is not pathology but physiology. Procedures that are part of the normality of the companies ".

45,000 employees were affected between January and October 2018 due to restructuring

Nothing could be further from the truth. Layoffs are frightening and there are those who think that good managers can avoid them. They refer to Vodafone, which faces its third ERE since 2011. "If it were not so cheap to fire, managers would not take action lightly," says CC OO unionist Joaquín Ferreira. In his opinion, "when they begin to announce layoffs, there is a so-called effect that everyone wants to follow". The telephone operator, however, justifies its decision to dispense 1,200 workers, alleging that changes in the telecommunications market, which has become a low cost business, make it impossible to maintain such a large structure (5,200 people) to maintain the investments and be able to compete.

"Where more collective dismissals we are seeing is in commerce, the communication sector, offices, transport and finance", ensures Gonzalo Pino, Secretary of Trade Union Policy of UGT. "But I do not think the EREs return with the same intensity they had during the crisis," he adds. Pino believes that the change of government, the changes expected in the labor reform of 2012 and the possibility of recession that is anticipated do not justify on their own the restructuring of staff that are currently being undertaken. "I have the feeling that they have more to do with the need for companies to compete in an increasingly demanding world, in which digitization is deteriorating and job insecurity. At some point we will have to consider what benefits the new companies and services that are emerging with the digitalization of the economy bring to the common good, that the only thing they provide us with is time while destroying employment. What are we going to want that time for when we do not have a job? "He asks himself.

The digitization is affecting the banking sector completely, since the crisis started, it has not stopped firing people and closing offices. "The sector has been reduced by more than 85,000 people. More than 120,000 have come out, but nearly 30,000 have come in, younger people who respond to the new profiles that banks need for their transformation, "says José María Martínez, general secretary of the CC OO Sercicios Federation.

The margin does not forgive

Caixabank was the last to announce a new ERE of 2,147 people, Unicaja has agreed about 800 early retirements and geographical mobility for 200 employees, the Bankia file is still open and now it remains to be seen what Banco Santander will start up after the absorption of Popular. "The experience says that, after the adjustments, the entities have the template prior to the merger five years later," says Martinez.

The official statistics until October 2018 do not account for the number of employment regulation files that have been opened in the last months of the year and the first measures of 2019, but while the number of companies and procedures fell with respect to 2017 (24% and 14%, respectively), the number of affected employees hardly moved: 45,000. And everything leads to think that, although we do not face a generalized process of collective dismissals as during the crisis, these figures will increase. Of course, "in the wave of adjustments from 2008, the exit conditions were much more stingy. Today the average compensation can be between 30 and 35 days per year worked and early retirement is made after 58 years, "says Durán.

The curves of the automobile

Nobody is saved. Car manufacturers do not understand that an expiration date has been set for diesel engines. Spanish plants suffer from a stoppage in sales and production and are immersed in temporary employment regulation files while adapting to a greater production of gasoline engines. Because, according to Joaquín Ferreira, responsible for the sector in the Federation of Industry of CC OO, "except Renault, which has only stopped one day, nobody had prepared for the change". And neither for the electric car, which will pass Spain, perhaps with the exception of Opel. Temporary stoppages, for the time being, are extended to auxiliary companies.


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