"Salaries must rise with inflation, but we agree to do it in three years"

The secretary general of CC OO, Unai Sordo. / eduardo sanz

Unai Sordo | Secretary General of CCOO

He denounces the unequal distribution when salaries only grow 2.8% while the remuneration of capital rises 8%

Unai Sordo (Barakaldo, 1972) has taken a few days of vacation to recharge batteries before a return to summer that is considered hellish and not precisely because of the obligation to lower the air conditioning.

In the midst of the recession drums, you have to sit down to negotiate the rent agreement. The CC OO leader explains that the union is willing to assume that the rise in inflation is spread over three years, but defends that wages must recover 100% of purchasing power.

– The labor market that had shown so much resistance until now has just suffered the worst July in history. Is it a turning point?

– The data is not good, but it must be contextualized. It comes after a very positive evolution. And one of the reasons is that the hospitality industry has performed worse because many contracts have been brought forward to June. We have to wait until August and September to see if we are experiencing a change in trend as a result of the economic downturn. Missing perspective.

– Vice President Calviño has recognized the risk of recession. Do you see this scenario?

– The uncertainties are evident. We have 10% inflation and an energy crisis that could put Germany, the engine of Europe, in a very difficult situation. In principle, the forecast is for growth, but no one is unaware of the risk of contagion if the deterioration worsens.

Inflation

“The Government must contain the prices of basic products”

– What are the recipes for CC OO in this scenario»?

– Three types of measures must be taken. One, quite controversial and unprecedented, would be to contain the prices of basic products. On the other hand, we must undertake a salary increase and take fiscal measures to protect the most vulnerable groups and the middle classes. It cannot be that salaries rise by 2.8% and the remuneration of capital more than 8%. And ultimately, Europe cannot resign itself to the permanent war in Ukraine.

– Going into the measures proposed by the CC OO, what prices do you think should be met?

– In its day, measures were taken like this with the masks and now it has been done with gas in electricity generation. I think that limiting the prices of basic goods in the shopping basket should be explored in sectors in which companies have sufficient margins.

– Its main battle horse is that inflation is passed on to wages, but there has been no agreement with the CEOE and the rent agreement is pending. How are the positions?

– The CEOE refused to sign an agreement that would include salary revision clauses with inflation, which are essential to guarantee that salaries do not pay for the crisis again.

– He criticizes the CEOE for refusing to link salaries to the CPI, but there are many companies that cannot bear a 10% salary increase. How far does your flexibility go?

– The position of the unions is sensible and flexible. It is about agreeing on initial increases contained in three years (between 3.5% and 4% for this exercise and somewhat less for the following), but then there is an adjustment with inflation. So that at the end of the cycle, in 2024, 100% of the rise in the CPI is recovered.

rent agreement

"Our position is sensible and we will mobilize if the CEOE does not change"

– Would you be willing to not recover 100% of inflation and set a limit?

– Our position is that it recovers 100% at the end of the cycle.

– And if not, will they mobilize?

– With inflation that will end the year between 7% and 10% and wages that only rise 2.8%, we are not going to urge people to resign themselves. Mobilization will be promoted to make the bosses change and for the Government to do its part, because it has many cards up its sleeve.

– What do you ask the Government in that rent agreement?

– That the unemployment benefit improves with the rectification of the cut that Rajoy introduced in 2013. In this reform, the benefit was cut to 50% of the salary from the sixth month. I think you have to raise it to 70%. We also demand the rise of the SMI according to the approved commitment.

– The government has already taken steps. Attending in part to their claims, it has approved taxes on energy companies and banks. Are you satisfied with this turn to the left of the coalition?

– First we have to see how these taxes are developed. But both measures sound good. It was necessary that a sector such as the energy sector, which has received benefits that have fallen from the sky –or rather, fallen from the pockets of the citizens–, have a repercussion on the population. And the same goes for banking. The sector has wide margins and with the rise in the Euribor its profitability will improve. They are positive measures, but insufficient.

– What more do you want?

– I think there are more sectors in which large companies barely pay more than 5% or 6% in Corporate Tax. That is why the minimum effective rate of 15% would be necessary.

– Defends that pensions should not enter the income agreement and that they have to rise with the CPI, as was included in the reform. But many experts warn that the cost is unaffordable for Spain.

– An agreement was signed to upload them with the IPC. I don't see any other scenario. There are pensioners who only receive 1,000 euros. If someone considers that the highest should not be revalued in those terms, then let him propose a tax reform. What cannot be done is cut to the chase and make pensions lose purchasing power.

– What about the officials? Should your salary go up with the CPI?

– I think that other variables come into play in the situation of civil servants. If measures are taken such as reinforcing the personnel in public services, it is possible to negotiate flexibility in the salary increase.

– Despite the drop in July, the weight of permanent contracts has remained, but there are many doubts about the quality of the new permanent contracts.

– It is the great unknown. Precariousness is like the Hydra of Lerna, you cut off one head and another appears. We have carried out an important reform to stop temporary work, which has given spectacular data, but there is an increase in part-time hiring that must be closely followed. I think there are sectors in which four-hour contracts are made to pay for the rest of the day in B. There, the Inspection has an important role to play.

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