Unions ask for minimum increases of 3.5% this year with revision of the CPI

The general secretaries of CCOO and UGT, Unai Sordo (i) and Pepe Álvarez (d). / archive

They demand to agree on an increase of 3.5% this year and include revision clauses with the IPC and threaten mobilizations as early as June if the negotiations are not unblocked

Lucia Palacios

The unions fight back, although for the moment without officially declaring war. Salary moderation and the threat of getting out of the agreements recommended by the employers at a time when inflation is out of control have not pleased the UGT and CC OO, who accused the CEOE of maintaining a "closed and inflexible position" in the table and warned him that "they are playing with fire". However, the UGT and CC OO surprised this Thursday with a "reasonable" and "extremely moderate" position -as they defined it- and without announcing a specific calendar of mobilizations, although they warned that in case the negotiations will take to the streets already in the month of June.

A recommendation for a higher salary increase was expected after the failure at the collective bargaining table. But no. UGT and CC OO agreed this Thursday, in an unprecedented meeting that they held in which all the sectoral federations of both organizations were present for the first time, to maintain the same position that they had defended before the employer: a minimum salary increase of 8% for the next three years taking into account "the diversity of sectors and companies". Specifically, they propose that the income of workers covered by the agreement increase by 3.5% this year, 2.5% in 2023 and 2% in 2024.

Of course, they require that the agreements always include salary review clauses that are applied at the end of the year to the workers to compensate them for the difference between the agreed increase and the final inflation, in order to guarantee the maintenance of purchasing power. This was actually the stumbling block that caused the negotiation to run aground, since the employers flatly refused to link wages to inflation. And that is why in the roadmap that they published a couple of days ago they advocated avoiding this "obsolete concept" and linking it to other concepts such as productivity, employment and business results.

"It is a moderate position," recognized the leader of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, during the presentation of the brief sheet that contains five specific points of recommendations for the negotiations of more than 5,000 agreements that are missing. "We do this so that there is no doubt that wages have no responsibility for the rise in price increases in our country," he explained.

"This is serious"

But precisely for this reason, Álvarez made an "appeal" to the CEOE so that, "within this reasonable margin" offered by the unions, the negotiation be unsettled, since if they do not attend to these "extremely moderate" demands, "in the next days» will go to a process of calling mobilizations. Moreover, they will not put "any limit" in the face of the mobilizations. And he reminded businessmen that there are aspects of the labor reform, such as the extension of temporary contracts from six months to one year, that they have to agree with them

In this line, the general secretary of the CCOO, Unai Sordo, also stated, who seconded that although the commitment of the union organizations is to try to reach agreements at the negotiating tables under the premises agreed on this Thursday, if they do not achieve it, Sordo indicated that there will be a mobilization process that will begin "before summer", in June, and that will continue after it. And he sent a "clear message" to the bosses: "This is serious. The unions are not going to allow a price crisis that the workers have not generated to be paid for by the working class again with an intense devaluation of wages.”

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