The Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has categorically rejected this Wednesday the extension of the period for calculating the pension to 35 years, from the current 25. “This is a cut in public pensions,” he crossed out in an interview on Cadena Ser. The minister has repeated that United We can “not accompany” this measure that is on the table of the coalition government led by Minister José Luis Escrivá and the economic vice president Nadia Calviño.
The Government’s plan for pensions: increase the amount by 4% for each year that retirement is delayed and tighten early retirement
Yolanda Díaz has affirmed that the rejection of United We Can to this extension in the calculation period has been transferred “legitimately” within the Government to the president himself. The ‘purple’ ministers are opposed to this change in the pension system and Díaz warns that they will fight it “with the forces of the 35 seats” that Unidos Podemos has in the Congress of Deputies.
President Pedro Sánchez denied yesterday that Brussels is demanding a specific pension reform from Spain in the negotiation to obtain recovery funds from the crisis due to the pandemic. However, Executive sources explained to elDiario.es that the Government has included this extension of the calculation period with an eye toward satisfying the European Commission. The proposal is unexpected, since it is not included in the political pension agreement of the Toledo Pact nor is it one of the measures that Social Security is negotiating with social agents.
No support in Parliament
The person in charge of Labor also considers that, if the Government finally defends to apply this change, it will be quite alone and has predicted that it will not have the political support to approve it in Parliament, not even among the parties of the right. “This approach is going to have enormous difficulties,” he said, calling it “incorporating a cut to the new cohorts” who retire.
Yolanda Díaz recalled that the extension of the pension calculation period was not among the 22 recommendations of the Toledo Pact, the political agreement on pensions that has been achieved for so many years. This measure was in previous drafts of the recommendations, but it was withdrawn and does not appear in the document agreed by the different political parties, which achieved broad support from Parliament.
“The parties do not want this, this does not go from the left or the right,” said the minister, in view of the final text of the Toledo Pact. “This is moving away from what has been democratically decided,” he insisted.
The SMI battle continues in 2021
The Minister of Labor has also responded about the extension of the minimum interprofessional wage approved yesterday by the Council of Ministers, which leaves the SMI at 950 euros at the start of 2021, the same amount as in 2020, against the criteria of Yolanda Díaz and how the socialist part of the Government defended.
Although Díaz insists that social dialogue will continue to negotiate a possible increase in the SMI in 2021, yesterday’s statements by President Pedro Sánchez show the difficulty for the Executive to agree to an increase in the minimum wage in the short term. Sánchez expressed that now is not the time to increase lower wages due to the difficulties that companies are going through, many supported by public money, and focused efforts on recovering the activity of companies in ERTE and the jobs destroyed in the crisis by the COVID-19.
Yolanda Díaz agrees with the president in the diagnosis of the crisis context, but still does not see it justifiable to freeze the SMI. Díaz has defended a limited increase in the minimum wage, 0.9% as well as the increase in pensions and the salary of employers. “We are discussing 30 cents a day, it makes me a little sad.”
The Minister of Labor recalled again that in the entire history of democracy, no government froze the SMI, despite the crises it has gone through, except Mariano Rajoy, within a policy marked by austerity and cuts that this Executive does not share.
“My position is known. It seems to me that we leave behind those who need it most. I will always be on the side of the weakest,” Diaz stressed. The minister has stated that on January 8, the negotiation of the increase in the SMI, in addition to the one that affects the extension of the ERTE, which expire on January 31, will return to the social dialogue table.