July 28, 2021

The sectoral agreement will prevail over the company for salaries

The sectoral agreement will prevail over the company for salaries

Susana AlcelaySusana Alcelay


Pedro Sánchez repeated as a mantra that would repeal the labor reform, but parliamentary weakness has prevented him from doing so. However, it will succeed in reforming one of its basic pillars: collective bargaining. The social dialogue table already caresses an agreement by which the Executive, the CEOE, UGT and CC.OO. will end with the role of the company agreement. This will allow that what was agreed by unions and employers on salaries and work days in sectoral agreements -state, regional or provincial- is again above what is agreed within the companies. For this area would be issues of internal organization, such as hours, shifts and other elements of working conditions.

More union protagonism

Recovering the prevalence of the sectoral agreement on the company would kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, the lost prominence to the unions in the companies and, on the other, the wage cuts that implied in 2012 giving all the power to the companies in the agreements would be restrained. Devaluing wages was the alternative to dismissals from the crisis.

The norm approved by the PP introduced high doses of flexibility to modify working conditions and avoid job extinctions. The idea was to allow a company that was in a situation of difficulty to stop applying the agreement, including the salary increases provided for in sectoral agreements, and to give preference to the agreements signed at its workplace.

«True need»

The text that employers and trade unions are negotiating also delimits the processes of descuelgue for cases of "real needs of companies and during the time strictly necessary to overcome such needs". The non-application of collective agreements or removals was residual in labor relations until in 2012 the labor reform was approved. With this norm they shot up to become a key instrument to save the economic situation of a company.

The called ultra-activity, limited to one year by the reform of the PP Government, will also be modified. Social agents agree to eliminate the current limits and that collective bargaining in each case determines its duration. This mechanism was before 2012 one of the greatest elements of control that unions had in the negotiations of collective agreements. If this came to an end and was not renewed, it remained in force until the new one was signed and it was done without an expiration date.

"The social dialogue table considers that the negotiating subjects should be, without legal interference, those who decide in a agreed way the ultra-active regime of the convention denounced and expired while it is negotiating the one that has to replace it", says the proposed agreement that They negotiate the Ministry of Labor and the organizations run by Juan Rosell, Pepe Álvarez and Unai Sordo.

The working document clarifies that eliminating the year of negotiation does not mean "keeping sine die the extension of the agreements until they are replaced by a new one, but allow the negotiating subjects freely establish what best suits you to the circumstances of the negotiating process under way ».

For cases in which there is no agreement and in order to unblock the negotiations, the parties are committed to formulas such as mandatory mediation or voluntary arbitration.

The objective of the negotiations was also focused on curbing the abuses committed by subcontractors. Labor, businessmen and unions debate about changes in the legislation to achieve, for example, the wage equalization between the workers of the contracting company and the subcontracted company. This new model will force contractors and subcontractors to guarantee not only the same salaries, but also the same conditions of employment, working hours, rest time, breastfeeding or maternity as the staff of the parent who hires or awards them the service. To equal work, equal conditions.

Thus, the employer of the main company that contracts with another to carry out works or services of its activity must verify that the contractor is up to date with the payment of the contributions and also that it will be jointly and severally liable for all labor and Social Security obligations contracted by the contractor entrepreneur

The negotiation between the Executive and the social agents will recover the Unemployment subsidy for those over 52 who was one of those who cut the 2012 reform. Then the minimum age was raised to start perceiving it from 52 to 55 years old. In addition, the requirements will be adapted to the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court that repealed the requirement that the income test take into account the income of the whole family. So, again, only the individual income of the beneficiary will be required again. The recipients will receive this aid until the ordinary retirement age is reached and it will be the State that will contribute for this contingency due to retirement during the receipt of the subsidy.

The agreed text justifies the recovery of this subsidy in "improving access conditions for those over 52 years of age, a group that is particularly vulnerable due to their age and because they are long-term unemployed". The attached financial report specifies that almost 400,000 people will benefit from a measure that only in 2019 will cost 377 million, a figure that will rise to 1,250 million annually when it is fully in force.

Finally, the pre-agreement also extends to retirements. There is harmony so that collective bargaining can establish clauses for forced retirement by age linked to employment policy objectives and generational change. «Collective agreements may establish clauses that make it possible to terminate the employment contract due to compliance by the worker with the ordinary retirement age established in the Social Security regulations. We must remember that Spain the law does not force workers to retire; only a legal retirement age is established, which this year is 65 and six months.


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