The pension and labor reforms, pending the personal decision of Sánchez | Economy

The pension and labor reforms, pending the personal decision of Sánchez | Economy

The Government does not stop trying to get the support of employers and unions to repeal in extremis pension reform that the Executive of the Popular Party made unilaterally in 2013. Likewise, different heads of the Executive have said they will negotiate until the last moment to start the maximum possible consensus to repeal the most damaging aspects of the labor reform.

In fact, the heads of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security convened this Friday the union and business leaders to try to close a pact that would allow the Government to bring a Royal Decree of Social Security to the last Council of Ministers before the dissolution of the Cortes, to be held on March 1. Then try to validate the decree in the last plenary session of the Congress the following week.

However, the last proposal presented by Labor to employer and unions in this meeting left out the repeal of the revaluation and sustainability factors approved in 2013. The text included a dozen issues, including the recovery of unemployment benefit for older people 52 years old; the return to the payment of the contributions of non-professional carers; the recognition of self-employed contributors for cessation of activity in 2018 of the return of IT quotas as of January 1, 2019; or the bonus for the hiring of long-term unemployed people or agricultural workers, among others. But no sign of the two star measures in terms of pensions: the permanent and automatic revaluation with the CPI and the complete elimination of the sustainability factor.

The intention of the Executive was to try this Friday to obtain the endorsement of the industralists for a wide agreement in pensions, that allowed him soon to introduce the mentioned derogation. Something that failed, because CEOE and Cepyme were firm in their rejection, rather than the content by the ways and the time in which it is intended to approve, with a Government practically in office and after the failure of the Pact of Toledo.

Given this circumstance, unions CC OO and UGT raised their pressure to try to start the royal decree to repeal the pension reform. And, both centrals sent an ultimatum to the Government, so that next Tuesday it clarifies to them if it will carry out this derogation or not. Otherwise, they consider that it would mean "the rupture of the dialogue" with the Executive of Pedro Sánchez and "the beginning of a process of mobilizations", according to UGT.

In this scenario, the parties came out of the meeting understanding that the final decision to repeal the 2013 pension reform now depends on the personal pulse of Pedro Sánchez. At this point, the divisions within the Government are united in this respect, since from the Ministry of Economy and, particularly, its owner, Nadia Calviño, is against this derogation that would not be well seen in Brussels and that could even imply that Spain will be forced to make adjustments in terms of pensions.

As for the labor counter-reform, the Government's doubts about whether it will be able to be validated by the Parliament, either in the last plenary session or, later, in the permanent deputation, are also calling into question the elaboration of a second royal decree that includes the elimination of ultra-activity; the prevalence of the sector agreement; a new regulation of subcontracting, and the implementation of the hourly registration of working hours.

Business fears

Again, employers and unions have the impression that it will be Sanchez himself who decides to continue or not with this counter-reform. Although, the businessmen fear that although the Executive does not obtain the support to validate this text, it also approves it as an electoral program.

But even greater than the concern for the labor counter-reform, in the employers there is now more concern for all the news that the Government intends to approve with a third real decree on equality.

Among those that most distress employers is the obligation for all societies to establish a salary record by sex and professional groups. As well as the requirement that all companies with more than 25 workers take equal measures if the wage bill of men exceeds 25% of women. If this analysis does not discriminate between categories or, for example, reductions in working hours, this discrimination could occur in all companies. In addition, the Government lowers the criterion so that companies are obliged to have an equality plan of 250 to 50 workers. This decree also provides for the extension of paternity leave: to eight weeks in 2019; 12 in 2020 and to 16 in 2021. And duplicates these parent and mother permits at the same time.

Calendar of upcoming appointments

Equality. The first of the meetings that the Government will have with employers and unions to try to take forward the changes in labor issues will be the social dialogue table on equality, next Monday. At this table, the employer seeks to qualify the new requirements of salary and future drafting on the alleged discrimination in which the employer could incur.

Employment and pensions. Only one day later, on Tuesday, the Ministry of Labor will receive employers and unions to inform them of the labor developments that the Executive intends to take forward. Although, the unions also hope that that day the Government will inform them if they will repeal or not the pension reform of 2013.

advice. After all meetings, the government could approve on March 1 three royal decrees laws – the number is also to be determined – that should be validated in the plenary session of the Congress of Deputies. If this is not achieved, the 65 deputies of the Permanent Deputation will be responsible for validating it. PP, Cs and UPN add up to 32 deputies and the parties that supported the motion of censure, 33.


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