The president of Cepyme, Gerardo Cuerva (first from the left);  Antonio Garamendi, president of CEOE;  Pepe Álvarez (UGT) and Unai Sordo (CC OO).  Europe Press.
The president of Cepyme, Gerardo Cuerva (first from the left); Antonio Garamendi, president of CEOE; Pepe Álvarez (UGT) and Unai Sordo (CC OO). Europe Press.Europa Press News (Europa Press via Getty Images)

The union representatives went to the Madrid headquarters of the CEOE-Cepyme employers’ association on Calle Diego de León, 50, mainly with one expectation: to receive a counterproposal from employers for salary negotiations in sectors and companies.

Said expectation responded to the fact that the unions already sent their own salary proposal to the employers’ organizations a few weeks ago with the intention of resuming the formal negotiations for the signing of a V Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining that includes the remuneration guidelines and the rest of working conditions for the negotiators of sectoral and company agreements.

However, in this meeting, which was the first formal one, in this new attempt to reach an agreement – ​​there is no AENC in force since 2020 – the employers did not provide any counter-proposal or give details about their intentions in this matter; and they limited themselves to evaluating the union proposal, as reported by the unions. Regarding the rest of the issues, the negotiators have addressed more general aspects of the agenda and the schedule of meetings.

Regarding the climate in which the meeting was held, the CC OO negotiator, Maricruz Vicente, assured that “there is a will (of the businessmen) to reach an agreement; but the will by itself is not enough, proposals are needed and that is what we still do not have from the employers”.

In this sense, Vicente indicated that the employers continue to accept the salary review formula; and, despite this, he insisted to the employers that “it is urgent to raise wages,” said Vicente, who also stressed that in the agreement to be signed, “there must be a review clause” to compensate for the diversion of inflation. “This salary review mechanism continues to be disliked by employers – added the union official – but there are also other things that we do not like and that is what negotiation consists of”, he concluded. The parties agreed to meet again in the first half of April.

In their latest proposal from weeks ago, CC OO and UGT reformulated the approaches that led the businessmen to break off these negotiations almost a year ago now. Thus, the power plants proposed initial increases of 5% for 2022 (retroactive); of 4.5% for 2023 and 3.75% for 2024. An additional increase would be added to these increases to offset the increase in inflation above the agreed increases. The novelty lies in the fact that this compensatory part would be established with a newly designed clause that not only took inflation into account, but also the progress of the companies’ activity.

To obtain data on business profits or losses in each sector, the unions propose the creation of a new “reliable” indicator that is obtained with data from a new Economic Information System for Collective Bargaining (SIENC) with data from the Ministry Treasury, Social Security and Collective Agreements. It will be the collective agreements themselves that establish other sequences of entry into force of the clause: at the end of the 2022-2024 cycle or a percentage of the recovery at the end of the year and another at the end of the cycle).

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