September 19, 2020

Sánchez sends a nod to tourism and opens to expand ERTE beyond September




The negotiation between the Government, employers and unions to expand the temporary employment regulation files (ERTE) Beyond June 30 it was a road full of obstacles. The demands of the Executive were on the verge of overthrowing the agreement, which was finalized at the last minute and seasoned with criticism from businessmen. The Executive is aware of the wear and tear that the negotiation produced -which became enchanted by the differences in the bonuses of the contributions- and wants to avoid a similar situation repeating itself.

In recent weeks, government representatives such as the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz; the Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, or the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, had left the open door in public to prolong ERTE linked to the pandemic beyond September 30, when they are scheduled to expire. Yesterday it was the very leader of the Executive who was open to expanding the ERTE until the end of the year, although he only referred to the tourism sector and did not ensure any definitive results. During the press conference after the office maintained with King Felipe VI in the Marivent PalacePedro Sánchez assured that he hopes to reach an agreement “in the coming months” on the extension of these mechanisms, which have represented a lifeline for thousands of companies.

A “competitive” sector

Sánchez also indicated that the Executive is “talking” with unions and businessmen to reach an agreement. «The will of the Government is clearly to protect employment in a sector that has been damaged “as a result of” the most serious pandemic in the last 100 years on the entire planet. In addition, he stressed that the tourism sector in Spain “It is very competitive”, thus contradicting the accusations of “precarious” and “seasonal” made against the sector by the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón.

The Prime Minister insisted that the Government has the «Maximum readiness for dialogue» with social agents to protect “the hundreds of thousands of employees who have seen their activity frozen” as a result of the stoppage. Representatives of the employers’ association and the unions have also had an impact in recent weeks on extend the ERTE at least until the end of the year to safeguard employment.

The tourism sector has been the great beneficiary of this mechanism. As published by ABC, at the end of July 50% of the people who continued in an ERTE belonged to an activity related to tourism, according to data from the Ministry of Social Security. Although lmost of the companies gave up for lost the summeror before it started, there was still some hope that in August and September the situation would improve. However, the outbreaks of coronavirus produced throughout Spain, the recommendations from other states not to travel to our country and the quarantines of all travelers who come from it have thrown away any optimism. Without going any further, the data published yesterday by Aena reflect that in the month of July Spanish airports registered 76.2% fewer passengers than in the same month of 2019.

That is why the sector has been influencing in recent weeks the need to extend these mechanisms, at least, until the end of the year. The ERTEs are conditioning the employment adjustments foreseen in sectors such as aviation, where the president of Iberia, Luis Gallego, has already warned that they will negotiate with the unions the cut as soon as the temporary employment regulation files expire.

Beyond the messages that the Executive leaves in public, they are also taking place private encounters in which this matter is addressed. And in one of them, the Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, would have assured different airlines that everything points to the ERTE They will remain at least until the end of the year, as specified by sources in the tourism sector. From the business sector, however, they warn that there are still edges in the negotiation that must be polished.

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