June 15, 2021

Government and social agents run aground in the extension of the ERTEs due to Escrivá’s proposal


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The social dialogue to address the fourth extension of the ERTE remains stalled and without agreement. From the Ministry of Job they assure that they will meet again with the social partners during the weekend to try to close a pact that allows to extend this mechanism until next September 30. The main stumbling block is in the proposal of the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, who advocates including changes in the amounts of the exemptions received by entrepreneurs who have requested an ERTE. It wants to offer a greater reduction to workers who rejoin compared to those who remain suspended, contrary to the equality formula between the two in force until now.

From Cepyme they affirm to ABC that another of the main obstacles to reaching a pact resides in the job maintenance clause, that is, the veto on the layoffs, which they ask to modify given the suffocation situation of many companies, although they point out that the Government has not even agreed to discuss the issue nor have they included it on the agenda of negotiation points . For this reason, the problems to reach an agreement are not in Labor but in Social Security, on whom the exemptions to contributions depend.

During the meeting with the Secretary of State for Social Security and Pensions, Israel Arroyo, and with the Secretary of Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, the social partners once again insisted on a fourth extension with the same conditions as the previous ones. The proposal has been rejected in recent days by both unions and employers; all together claim to maintain the same rules as in previous extensions in concentrating the exemptions from Social Security contributions on workers who remain in the ERTE, not in those who leave and rejoin the labor market.

Cristina Antoñanzas, Deputy Secretary General of the UGT, has indicated at the end of the meeting without agreement, as Servimedia collects, that “the ERTEs are an instrument that has prevented the destruction of employment and has been an effective tool to protect employment.” ATA sources, for their part, emphasize that they will not accept “an extension without the same conditions because it would not be an extension.”

As published by ABC, Escrivá is committed to gradually lowering these employee exonerations in ERTE from June to September, when they would be cut to 50%. At the same time, those who returned to the activity would have greater discounts on their contributions to Social Security. For the first three months the cut would be 30%. As of May 17, there were about 580,000 workers covered by this employment protection umbrella.

Beyond this, sources present at the meeting point out that the current extension proposal also includes leaving out sectors of activity that were previously included in the facilities of the scheme. For example, that of road transport.

Common stance

Both CEOE and unions have shown in recent days against this formula that aims to reduce by up to 50% the exonerations of workers who remain in ERTE. The CEOE president, Antonio Garamendi, pointed out in this regard that “When you talk about an extension, what you have to do is extend it”. “It is extended and that’s it,” he added. For his part, the general secretary of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, came to criticize the “absurd debate” put on the social dialogue table. “We should not reward the reinstatement of workers in ERTE because the company will hire them the same if it needs them,” said Álvarez. “The history of the ERTE is the story of a success in the last second,” he added, and took for granted that there will be an agreement, even if it is at the last minute and despite the uncertainty that it entails.

The Minister of Labor herself, Yolanda Díaz, aligned herself with the position of the social agents. “What works should not be changed”, indicated the also third vice president after being asked about it, to add: “The Ministry of Labor and Social Economy is in favor of maintaining the norm that is currently in force, the last of the norms, as we have agreed to it”. “This is the position of the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy,” he remarked.

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