"It would give a lot of stability to the country"

Businessmen are also keeping an eye on the vote on the labor reform this Thursday, which they hope will go ahead. "It would give a lot of stability to the country," said the leader of the CEOE employers' association, Antonio Garamendi, in an interview on The Hour of TVE 1. The business leader has highlighted that the legislation is the result of a "good agreement" between the unions, the Government and the employers, and has warned that he sees a lot of "political tactics" in the parliamentary groups in the face of its validation. "It is very respectable, but we are playing for something very important: stability in labor relations in the coming years," he pointed out.

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Garamendi has refused to value the opposition to the agreement of the main opposition party, the Popular Party. "I'm not going to go into politics," he said. "In Spain we would need many more state agreements, but for that we have to talk, they have to call each other. It would be very interesting if the two big parties talked, they called each other," he added.

The leader of the CEOE met last week with Inés Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos, to talk about his support for the labor reform. Antonio Garamendi attended the meeting with the former PP minister Fátima Báñez, now president of the employer's foundation. The movement, in which the person responsible for the reform of the PP is brought to the forefront to defend the current agreement, came after criticism of the pact by the president of Cepyme, Gerardo Cuerva, one of the signatories of the social agreement, and the PP campaign against the regulation.

Garamendi has specified that he has not called on any party to support the legislation, to "respect its legitimacy" and not to accuse them of interfering in the vote. But, yes, he has received the formations that have asked to speak with the employers on this issue, as Citizens, he said. "I thanked Inés Arrimadas for her support," she replied.

No changes on the agreed matters

The business leader has justified his call for the social agreement not to change even in "a comma" given the work of nine months to agree on the legislation with the Executive and the unions. A subsequent modification would be "a trap", he considered. The changes in the parliamentary procedure "would be legitimate", Garamendi stated, "but that would not be the agreement".

Another thing would be for labor changes to be agreed a posteriori, once this reform was approved as it came out of the social dialogue, which is the alternative proposed by the unions to join forces such as ERC. The president of the employer's association seems to have left some space for this possibility, since he has rejected the modifications "at least in the matters that we have discussed and they are closed."

This idea has been insisted on by the leaders of CCOO, Unai Sordo, Y of UGT, Pepe Alvarez In interviews with elDiario.es: the rejection of changes in the labor reform only reaches the text agreed in this legislation, but not other matters that have not been negotiated.

Garamendi has insisted that what has been agreed must endure as agreed so that "stability" is given to the companies. "If we are going to approve this and tomorrow we change this and this, I almost prefer that they tell us before...", he affirmed. "This agreement must provide stability over time. Not 20 days or a month, stability is for years," he stressed.

Rejection of the minimum wage of 1,000 euros

The leader of the employers has also responded about the rise in the minimum wage (SMI), which will address next February 7 with the unions and the Ministry of Labor. "I see the 1,000 euros as complicated," responded the president of the CEOE employers' association, Antonio Garamendi, on the claim of the CCOO and UGT unions to place the minimum interprofessional salary (SMI) at 1,000 euros this year. This increase would be in line with the expert report that advised the Government on this matter. "Regarding the experts, well, I have the honor of representing more than two million companies," Garamendi replied.

The Basque businessman has stated that this rise could cause a "significant contraction in employment", since there are still companies that have not recovered from the crisis, especially the smaller ones, which are "the ones that are most affected by these issues and They're pretty swamped." For the moment, studies on the impact of the SMI on employment indicate that the negative effect, if it occurs, is small, as stated by the Bank of Spain and AIReF.

Garamendi recalled that the SMI has risen 30% in the last three years and that eight autonomous communities already have a minimum wage higher than 60% of the average wage, the objective of the legislature in its agreement to progressively raise the SMI. "We have to see where we come from and we have had two very difficult years," he warned.

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