The new Scholarship Holder Statute is making us wait longer than expected. The Ministry of Labor intended to approve the measure, to reinforce the rights of interns and wants to put an end to the figure of "false interns", before the August holidays. Finally, the debate will continue on the table in Yolanda Díaz's apartment at the turn of the summer and still without closing the social dialogue. The issue has become a point of tension with employers, who maintain significant differences with the Government in the very approach to the reform, so everything indicates that employers will drop this matter without an agreement.
The norm in contention is the Statute of Non-Labor Practices (known as the Scholarship Holder Statute), which seeks to recognize a series of minimum rights to studentssuch as compensation for expenses while they carry out internships in areas such as transport and maintenance, as well as adequate training thanks to a reinforcement of tutoring.
The Statute also intends, and here is the main focus of the dispute with businessmen, further restrict practices and prevent the fraud of substituting interns for workers.
The idea of Labor, which the unions demanded, is that non-labour practices be limited to the training activities of students during their university courses, FP and other degrees within the study plans, ending –after a transitory period– with extracurricular internships. For the rest of the training practices, the intention is to resort to training contracts, which are labor contracts and are used very little in companies at the moment.
In the first case, we would be talking about internship students, learning a trade, and in the second, an internship worker, with labor rights such as salary compensation, something that is not obligatory for interns.
"For Labor, putting an end to one of the most damaging practices in the labor market, which is using students to cover labor relations, false scholarships, is a priority. Just as it is a priority that training relations are channeled mainly to through training contracts," said the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, on Tuesday, who recalled that these contracts have been one of the modernized modalities in the labor reform agreed with the social agents.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, do not share the restriction of non-labour practices, which they consider appropriate and which they remember are the way young people enter the labor market at the moment, they explain in the CEOE.
With these open differences and after many meetings, the month of July came to an end and the August legislative break arrived without Labor managing to put the noose on the reform. They have yet to be incorporated into this the contribution rights for all scholarship holders, which accumulate a long delay by the Ministry of Social Security.
Thus, the Ministry of Yolanda Díaz will resume the talks at the turn of the summer with the most likely scenario of an early agreement and only with the unions. Secretary of State Joaquín Pérez Rey has already spoken publicly of this possibility, which is not unknown "to this Government", he has recalled.
The Ministry of Labor has agreed on all three-way reforms with employers and unions except one, that of equal pay regulations and equality plans. And, without being a reform, there is another matter that has escaped from the tripartite agreements: the minimum interprofessional wages (SMI) of the last two years. The Ministry of Social Security has also carried out only with the unions one of the elements of the pension reform, the intergenerational equity mechanism.
The negotiation has not been terminated, but almost. The CEOE insists to elDiario.es that it is open to negotiations and that this issue has not yet been closed on key issues such as the contribution and incentives for companies to hire interns. However, social dialogue sources point out that businessmen are not willing to sign another agreement with the coalition government, without many advantages for them, in the months prior to the internal process to renew the leadership of Antonio Garamendo at the head of the CEOE.
"We will persist to see if we achieve it", pointed out the Secretary of State for Employment on the consensus with unions and employers, but acknowledged that he saw this possibility as "difficult". "To the extent that the employers have the opinion that there are ways that allow the use of training as a cost-cutting formula, it will be difficult for us to reach an agreement with them," said Joaquín Pérez Rey on Tuesday.