Negotiation and first friction on the last extension of the ERTE due to the pandemic. At least, so it is expected. The Government proposed this Tuesday that ERTEs motivated by the coronavirus crisis can be extended until January 31, so that it includes the Christmas campaign. In this extension, the Executive has proposed to the social agents that there be a change of model, of “transition” or “pilot” to the future permanent ERTE. His intention is to condition the aid to companies in ERTE to present a training plan for the affected workers, which is paid in part by the companies although “the bulk” leaves the State. The employers rejected the model yesterday and the unions are not entirely convinced to apply the change at this time.
Training and uncovering fraud, the objectives of the new ERTE extension
The Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, defended this Wednesday in an interview on TV3 that training is a requirement to maintain the ERTE with exemptions. “We want it to be a condition, that is why a new file must be opened, companies have to present a training plan. It makes perfect sense at the point where we are,” he said. The new extension will not be automatic, but will require companies to request the files again so that there is greater control of the labor authority and fraud cases can be better detected.
Given that most of the restrictions due to the pandemic are currently being lifted, the Government warns that the context is different and considers it necessary to have more involvement of the companies that continue to be protected by the ERTE, which has high contributions to the listing.
The initial idea is for the State to pay for “the bulk” of the training, but for a part to come from the companies themselves in ERTE, which should design a specific training plan for their staff within the files and that this is authorized by the labor authority, as explained by the minister this morning. ERTEs due to impediments, that is, those in which companies have to close their businesses by order of the Administration, would continue to receive aid in any case, as this media has learned.
In this last section of the files for the pandemic, the Executive defends that it is necessary to focus on the training of workers to ensure a job opportunity, either in the same companies and sectors, or in others in case they cannot return to pre-pandemic activity. This has also been indicated by the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz.
The Government does not give figures, but recognizes that there is a part of the slightly more than 200,000 people in ERTE who will not be able to return to their jobs after more than a year and a half since the start of the emergency unleashed by the coronavirus. Yes, it has been achieved for the vast majority of people protected in ERTE, more than 90% of the 3.4 million who came under this scheme, which is considered a “success” in managing the pandemic.
The controversy: condition the ERTE now
The commitment to training is shared by social agents, Unai Sordo, CCOO secretary general, explained this Wednesday. A model of internal flexibility in companies and training for workers is part of the debate on the future permanent ERTE model that is discussed at the social dialogue table on labor reform. “The controversy” in this regard, said the CCOO leader, focuses on whether now is the time to start applying this new perspective.
“Sometimes a good idea put on the table out of time turns into a bad idea”, has warned Unai Sordo. “We are in a renewal for four months ahead,” he recalled. “An idea that is good, if we bring it to the fore ahead of time, it can end up generating problems at the end of the pandemic ERTE.”
Sources from the CEOE employer indicated to elDiario.es after the meeting on Tuesday that the Government had presented “a proposal that does not constitute an extension of the ERTE but a new mechanism, to be developed between October 1 and January 31, which theoretically it aims to help companies but, among other things, links the exemptions to training whose current system has proven ineffective “.
The CCOO secretary general has shared his “doubts” that “the Administration itself is in a position to guarantee coherent training plans for the quarter of a million people who are still in an ERTE”. The idea is that the training is provided by the SEPE, whose workers often report the heavy workload and lack of staff.
On the other hand, the Government considers that it is the moment and, in fact, they defend that this may be the opportunity to “test” the future permanent flexibility scheme. “This has to be a pilot for the ERTE model and internal flexibility that is later in force in a structural way. It is very important to test this training model and do it fully,” said Minister José Luis Escrivá.
The Executive and the social agents will meet again tomorrow, Thursday, with the intention of reaching an agreement before next Tuesday, September 28, the last Council of Ministers before the current ERTE model expires.