“The system is sustainable and we are demonstrating it”

Tenth agreement of the social pact so far in the legislature. This time, the first of the three sections in which the Government, unions and employers have divided the negotiation on the pension system precisely to advance in those matters that are easier to agree between the parties. “The public pension system is viable, sustainable, and we are demonstrating it,” said the president, Pedro Sánchez, proudly, at the closing of the signing ceremony that was staged this Thursday at Moncloa. But a few minutes before, both the CCOO and UGT representatives, as well as the employers, have agreed that this was the easy part and have expressly warned that the next two tranches, especially the one referring to the income of the system, will be much more complex to solve.

Early retirement is a disincentive, but its hardening is eased: the keys that bring the pact on pensions closer

Early retirement is a disincentive, but its hardening is alleviated: the keys that bring the pact on pensions closer

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The agreement signed this morning ends a decade of unilateralism. The general secretaries of CCOO, Unai Sordo, and UGT, Pepe Álvarez, recalled that in 2011, with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in Moncloa, a pact was sealed that two years later the Government of Mariano Rajoy took ahead, legislating on pensions unilaterally, without political or social agreement. Now, it ends that modus operandi, in addition to some of the main reforms introduced by the PP: the sustainability factor and the revaluation index.

In his speech, Sánchez thanked the parties for their negotiating effort, which has become one of the hallmarks of the legislature. “It is a crucial step for the Spanish and especially for the elderly,” said the Prime Minister. “We settled one of their main demands, the revaluation of pensions according to the CPI so that pensioners do not lose purchasing power,” he congratulated himself.

“These measures will guarantee the sustainability of the system. We give horizon, stability, clarity to the system,” he added, to summarize some of the novelties: a new revaluation formula according to the CPI; encourage the voluntary approach from effective to real age; the separation of sources of income, with the State contributing 22,000 million to the system through the Budgets.

But Sánchez has also alluded to the elements that remain to be clarified in the next tables of social dialogue. The replacement of the sustainability factor by the so-called “intergenerational equity factor”, which should be approved in the next five months to enter into force in 2027, and the new system of contribution of the self-employed based on their real income, which must be implemented in 2022.

“Despite the complexity of future negotiations,” Sánchez concluded, “there is a will to continue working and negotiating to respond to the mandate of Congress.” And it is that before the president, unions and employers have intervened to warn that there are curves in social dialogue.

The CCOO secretary general has acknowledged that the agreement signed this Thursday is “the product of a complex negotiation” in which “everyone” has “modified the starting position.” The leader of the main union in Spain has defended Social Security as a “key backbone of the social contract that Spain must renew” and has argued that the pact sends a “message of certainty” to society that there are alternatives “to policies of austerity “.

Sordo recalled that in the next 25 years there will be 50% more pensioners in the system, faced with which “there are two options: cuts or undertake a responsibility proposal to define the framework of the income structure” of the system itself. That is, the contributions in the form of contributions made by workers and employers.

It is precisely what must be addressed in the following phases of negotiation. And, as Pepe Álvarez warned in the first place, “it will not be easy.” “Neither by the business nor by the union”, he added, to recall that the 2011 agreement was made within the framework of a “tremendous economic crisis” and that “today’s conditions are not the same.” The leader of the UGT has proposed starting from what was agreed a decade ago and trying “that present and future pensioners have a guaranteed quality of life when they stop working.”

The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, has also defended the agreement signed this Thursday because “it generates confidence in investors, in retired people and in those who enter the system.” The boss of the businessmen manages to rinse a bit the controversy that took place last week, when defended pardons to the politicians condemned by the procés. Today, the president of the PP, Pablo Casado, has lashed out against the measures of grace in a previous act in which Garamendi has also been

But Garamendi has agreed that the negotiation on the source of income for the public pension system “will be more complicated”, although he has compromised his intention to “reach an agreement.” In this sense, the employer’s leader has said that “the key is maintenance is employment.” And addressing the Third Vice President and Minister of Labor, present at the event, he defended his position in the tough talks for the new Workers’ Statute: “We are going to continue talking about flexibility and that companies have management freedom to achieve better and more dignified employment in more competitive companies taking advantage of the funds [europeos] that will arrive “.

This Wednesday it was known that Work raises reducing working hours as a preferred alternative to layoffs in its labor reform, whose bases have already been presented to Brussels.

The Minister of Inclusion, José Luis Escrivá, also spoke at the event held in Moncloa, who assessed the “ambition and open-mindedness” of the parties. “We have gone further in some points than we had initially anticipated,” he said. In his opinion, the agreement signed this Thursday “eliminates the uncertainty about the pensions of millions of pensioners and future pensioners, ensuring and reinforcing the sufficiency and purchasing power, the sustainability of the system in the medium term, and adding equity.”


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