“Leaving those who need it most out of the revaluation is perhaps one of the greatest injustices we can commit.” That is how forceful the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has shown this Wednesday about a freeze of the interprofessional minimum wage in 2021, an option for which several members of the Executive choose. Among them, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez. The position of this group has also been portrayed today in statements by Vice President Nadia Calviño in Brussels, who reiterated the high “uncertainty” of the current context. Calviño has stressed that there is still “no decision on the matter”, after Yesterday, the Ministry of Labor ruled out the freezing of unions and employers.
Employers insist on freezing the SMI and highlight that part of the Government supports it
Yolanda Díaz has insisted on the importance of the minimum wage to combat inequality in the labor market, in a press conference held in Lisbon with her Portuguese counterpart, regarding the signing of a joint declaration that reinforces social dialogue and cross-border cooperation with the neighboring country. The Minister of Labor, of United We Can, has repeated that Spain would be “the European anomaly” if it decided to freeze the SMI, since Portugal and the rest of the countries are agreeing to its elevation. “Today France announced it, a rise of 0.99%. It is not understood otherwise,” said Díaz.
Nadia Calviño has also referred to European countries, but to emphasize that Spain increased the SMI much more in the past years. “This is a socialist government,” said the economic vice-president, “a government whose president is President Sánchez, who has addressed a revaluation of the minimum interprofessional wage that is close to 30% in the last two years, without comparison with the neighboring countries and without comparison with other types of decisions made in the past. ”
Díaz today highlighted a new argument to defend the increase in the minimum wage given that, as he recalled, Spain defends in Brussels the European directive to establish minimum wages. The minister has stressed “the doctrinal incoherence” of defending this European legislation “and when the moment of truth comes one is incoherent and does not practice it in his country. Of course, it would be very incoherent.”
The pulse stays open
Yesterday, Labor ruled out the freezing of social agents, a scenario of freezing the SMI, a position that relieved the unions, but this Wednesday Vice President Calviño made it clear that the decision was not taken in the Executive. “There is no decision about it,” he said.
“We are in consultation with the social agents and there is no doubt about the strong commitment of our Government in the fight against precariousness. The objective is clear, but it is about seeing the most appropriate decision for each year. The Government must make a decision responsible once all the elements have been taken into account, “said Calviño. These elements, according to the vice president, are related to the current crisis due to the pandemic. “The current situation, as you well know and as I have pointed out, is intensely marked by uncertainty and the Government will have to make the responsible and appropriate decision to the current circumstances once all the different relevant elements have been taken into account,” he insisted.
The head of Labor has stressed that the increase in the SMI is important right now to avoid a way out of this crisis with greater inequality. “The most important thing here is the people. For a progressive government the only thing that should concern us is this, that we do not emerge more unequal from a crisis that is not only characterized by uncertainty but is hitting the popular classes in a certain way” , has pointed.
Yolanda Díaz has insisted that the increase in the minimum wage in the last two years has been effective against inequality and against the gender gap, by have significantly increased the average salary earned by women and the youngest. In addition, he stressed again that “during 42 years of democracy, no government has dared to freeze the minimum wage, only Mariano Rajoy did.”
The Minister of Labor, as also warned yesterday by the head of the Podemos Economy, Nacho Álvarez, recalled that the unions and employers are agreeing to wage increases of between “1.5 and 1.8%”. As the Government has the competence to revalue the minimum wage, the lowest possible floor for workers who are not governed by collective agreements (or who have them linked to the SMI), Yolanda Díaz sees it unjustifiable to leave them without any increase. “If we leave out, without any salary increase, the workers who need it most, it would be, at least, quite contradictory,” he valued.
Díaz asks entrepreneurs for “empathy”
The head of Labor has not only sent messages to the intern, but has openly addressed Spanish employers and employers, given that the debate is right now in social dialogue. “What we ask of the Spanish employers is that they have a certain empathy with their people,” said Yolanda Díaz, who has “reminded” employers that “while ERTE workers see wages reduced by 30%, companies in many cases they are being exonerated in all their social contributions, in 100%, 90% and 80% “.
“We ask him for empathy, a certain proximity to his people and a high point of view as they have always had until now,” added Díaz, who has spoiled the fact that the businessmen’s discourse is always the same before the possibility of increasing the minimum wage. “It does not matter if there is a crisis, whether there is a pandemic or not, the economic and political right and the discourse of the bosses is always the same,” he said.
The CEOE employer leader, Antonio Garamendi, has defended this Wednesday his position of freezing the minimum wage, which in his opinion could harm some sectors severely affected by the pandemic and make it difficult to recover lost jobs. “We have to be very responsible at this time, because the economy is not there to touch things that do not touch and, in fact, some members of the Government are saying it as well,” he said.