The government continues negotiating against the clock the new extension of the ERTE and the extension of the aid of ‘unemployment’ created for the self-employed, so that they extend until the 30 of September. The conversations are getting complicated. The employers have come out this Monday morning to pressure the Executive in various acts, specifically the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá. Entrepreneurs warn that the current offer, with regard to aid for listing and ultra-protected sectors in ERTE, as well as the dismissal of the self-employed, will not go ahead with their support. Tomorrow the last ordinary Council of Ministers will be held before the files expire, but it is not ruled out that the Government decides to go to an extraordinary council to continue negotiating.
The Government proposes reducing aid to companies for workers who continue in ERTE and rewarding those who activate
It is not new that employers resist until the end and rush deadlines in the negotiation to extend the temporary employment regulation files (ERTE). Has already happened in previous extensions. It remains to be seen whether this time the parties reach an agreement, as has happened so far, or whether the Government alone approves this new extension of both labor protection mechanisms that it deployed to deal with the pandemic. Public aid in these instruments has been going on for more than a year, such as the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
Sources from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security trust the agreement in social dialogue, as has happened so far, and insist that they continue to negotiate with employers and unions to reach a pact. The idea of the Executive is to take this agreement to the Council of Ministers tomorrow, Tuesday, the last ordinary before both aid expire, on May 31.
But businessmen threaten, at least publicly, to leave the government alone on this occasion. An idea that logically does not like in the Executive, especially because it has shown the capacity for consensus in social dialogue, even despite the great difficulty of some negotiations. This is the case of the agreement to approve the so-called Rider Law and the Remote Work Law, among others. So far, the employers have only taken down the agreement to approve the regulations of the equality and equal pay plans.
The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, said this morning that the negotiation to extend the ERTE until after the summer “is not a market” and that what must be done is to extend the current mechanism as it is.
“That should be asked to the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations,” Garamendi said when asked if he thinks there will be an agreement with the Government and the unions this afternoon. The Third Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has advocated maintaining the ERTE with little change. What works “should not be changed”, he has stated on several occasions.
Gerardo Cuerva, president of the employer association of small and medium-sized companies Cepyme has assured that the attitude of the Government is “discouraging” and has warned that “it is not the moment to withdraw stimuli” in the ERTE. “It would be a maximum error, we ask the Government to have a high view,” he said, with the message that not modifying the current proposal will lead to the Executive taking only “the BOE” the extension of the files.
For his part, the president of ATA, an organization of the self-employed within CEOE, has defended the same idea regarding the extension of aid for the ‘unemployment’ of the self-employed due to the pandemic. Amor has assured that the current offer of the Ministry of Social Security would leave out “90%” of the workers who now receive these benefits and has insisted that it will not support an extension that reduces the protection of the self-employed against the one that is keep for the self-employed in ERTE.
The points of confrontation on ERTE
The businessmen point to Minister José Luis Escrivá because he is the one who leads several of the issues on which discrepancies persist. On the ERTE, the keys to the confrontation are above all two. Minister Escrivá, as Vice President Nadia Calviño also pointed out, is committed to differentiating aid to the listing of companies in ERTE, to reward more those that reactivate workers compared to those that keep them suspended.
Entrepreneurs frontally reject this scheme, since they warn that it is a “penalty” to the companies that are doing the worst. The unions see it the same way. On the other hand, the head of Social Security strongly defends this scheme, which was applied last summer, as a boost to the de-hibernation of jobs. The negotiation until the end of this morning maintains the scheme and is focusing on adjusting the aid percentages.
In second place, the current ERTE scheme differentiates some sectors as those most affected by the pandemic. These are the so-called ‘ultra-protected’ sectors, which have access to greater aid for listing. An activity is included in this group according to the percentage of workers in ERTE with respect to the total number of affiliates it has. It also extends its greater protection to activities that prove to be dependent or that are within its value chain.
According to sources from the social dialogue, there are several sectors that would drop in the extension of this group, such as land transport, something that businessmen oppose. These indicate that they are still very touched activities and ask to maintain their special protection.
Differences on the ‘unemployment’ of the self-employed
Finally, the discrepancies remain this Monday on the extension of the aid of ‘unemployment’ of the self-employed due to cessation of activity, which also expire on May 31. Especially with ATA, the most conservative organization, but there are also fringes to negotiate for the progressive UATAE and UPTA (linked to UGT).
The government offer has moved from its initial approach, which severely limited the coverage of benefits for the summer. For example, the Ministry of Social Security has abandoned its approach to demanding greater losses to access the termination benefit compatible with the activity and has also agreed not to limit the amount of the extraordinary termination benefit, according to sources in the negotiation. .
However, the self-employed associations criticize that in the case of self-employed workers, the period quoted to date will be taken into account to maintain the aid from June, while salaried employees in ERTE are still being kept the so-called ‘counter to zero’ as in the last extension of the files. The leader of ATA, Lorenzo Amor, has been the one who has shown the Government the path of the extraordinary Council of Ministers, given the lack of agreement at the start of Monday.
The negotiations will continue throughout the day, with a meeting this afternoon on ERTE, at 5:00 p.m., and continuous contacts between the Government and the agents involved, say sources of social dialogue. Unai Sordo, leader of the CCOO, has trusted this morning to reach consensus and Pepe Álvarez, who has just been reelected as general secretary of the UGT, has pointed out that “it would be a failure if the Government had to extend the ERTE without agreement.” Álvarez reminded the Executive that he has the capacity to convene another Council of Ministers on Friday.