The employers and the majority unions have opened the table this Friday to address a new pact at the state level on collective bargaining, the so-called Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC), which serves as a reference for the companies and workers of the country in key issues such as wage setting and other working conditions. Today the first meeting between the representatives of the CCOO, UGT, CEOE and Cepyme has taken place, explain sources of the negotiation, with the aim that the new framework is ready in the first half of this year.
The unions insist on raising wages "yes or yes" and reject that it generates an "inflationary spiral"
The new AENC, if an agreement is finally reached, will succeed the last one (the fourth), which expired in 2020. This, for example, included a recommendation for a salary increase at the state level for collective agreements and negotiations in the companies, and included the commitment to achieve a salary floor of 1,000 euros in all agreements in the country.
With the pandemic, the negotiation of the next AENC was delayed, but for several months the CCOO and UGT unions had been urging the employers to sit down and negotiate this new framework. Above all, given the rise in inflation and the complications encountered by many workers so that sectoral companies and employers raise wagesunions denounce.
Finally, after several complaints from the CCOO and the UGT, who warned of an increase in labor unrest, as occurred in Cádiz, and the continued rise in prices, the employers agreed days ago to start negotiations. This Friday the first meeting took place, they confirm from both parties.
One month to submit proposals
The parties have agreed to present specific proposals to the negotiation table within a little over a month. On March 3, union sources point out, a new negotiating stage begins, with papers already on the table.
The marked roadmap consists of the parties meeting every fifteen days thereafter to try to reach a state framework agreement. The term set by the parties to reach an agreement is the first half of the year.
The wage issue is one of the most prominent, especially due to the large increase in prices (6.5% in the month of December) and the low increase in wages (1.47% in collective agreements). The peak of inflation is announced as extraordinary and is expected to decline in the coming months, but unions warn that workers are already losing purchasing power.
Faced with the calls for inflation "not to spread" to wages and for economic problems to be generated by second-round inflation, the CCOO and UGT reiterate that wages are increasing very little at the moment, they are not the ones that are generating the inflation boom, nor is it intended to be. The unions propose a multi-year negotiation, in which salary increases guarantee the maintenance of purchasing power in the period.
In addition, from CCOO and UGT they warn that collective bargaining must address many other issues, beyond wages, that allow the negotiating parties from all over the country to have references on issues such as labor equality, teleworking, etc.