2021 will start with the SMI as 2020 ends. The last Council of Ministers of the year, which is held this Tuesday, should approve a royal decree that revalues or freezes the indicator. With the negotiation of social dialogue stalled and the socialist part of the Government proposing the freeze, the Ministry of Labor led by Yolanda Díaz has made a last minute proposal: to extend the current SMI. In this way, government sources point out to elDiario.es, it would give time for unions and employers to continue with the talks.
The Government, divided over the minimum wage: Pedro Sánchez is not in favor of raising it in 2021
The idea raised by Díaz is not new. The PSOE itself it already did at the end of 2019, with the first Government of Pedro Sánchez alone in office. Then Magdalena Valerio was Minister and the Executive approved a royal decree to extend the SMI. A month later, once the coalition government was constituted and with Díaz at the helm of Labor and Social Economy, the social dialogue agreed to an increase of 50 euros (from 900 to 950). This same Monday a new meeting of the social dialogue table was considered, which finally did not take place.
That option is now on the table again and the debate will have to close this Tuesday in the Council of Ministers. In principle, Pedro Sánchez is not in favor of raising the SMI in 2021. And with him, the main economic ministers: the third vice president, Nadia Calviño, and the finance minister, María Jesús Montero. But in Labor they believe that there is scope for social dialogue to opt for an even small increase, which coincides with the one that the Government has raised via General Budgets for civil servants: 0.9%, about 9 euros per month. On the socialist side, they claim to wait a few months to see how the economy evolves and recall that, in the last two years, the SMI has risen more than 30%, from 736 euros to the current 950.
Formally, the Council of Ministers on Tuesday has four options: raise the SMI, freeze it, extend it or do nothing. This last option would cause the indicator to decline, which could leave entrepreneurs and, above all, workers in the legal uncertainty. Given the discrepancies between the PSOE and United We Can, Díaz already suggested that it was within the framework of social dialogue itself, where the main employer associations and the two majority unions are represented, in addition to Labor, where the matter would be resolved.
But January 31 marks the limit of the SMI validity and the Government must legislate in this regard. Government sources have taken Servimedia for granted that the indicator will be extended, but Labor does not have this confirmation and will wait for the debate within the Council of Ministers.
Díaz has not lost hope that an agreement will be produced that will allow the SMI to rise, even slightly, during 2021. In the middle of the month I work conveyed to unions and employers his opposition to freezing it. “For us, the Minister of Labor has said it on several occasions, for the Government the freezing of the SMI is not a variable on which we are working,” stated the Secretary of State for Labor, Joaquín Pérez Rey, at a press conference .
But the position of United We Can is not the majority in the Government and in this matter it has been noted. The decision to freeze the SMI was even made. Sources from the majority sector of the coalition even maintain that agreed “internally” said freezing within the framework of budget negotiation. That message has been publicly transmitted by the Government’s own spokesperson, who also holds responsibility for the Treasury. But the position has lost intensity. A week ago, María Jesús Montero raised the possibility that the dialogue on the SMI could be resumed after the summer of 2021. Díaz picked up the glove and raised in a press conference in Palma, precisely after meeting with employers and unions: “Now nobody talks about freezing the SMI. ” A matter about the government has to make a decision, albeit temporary, in less than 24 hours.