Thursday, September 29

The Government faces a tough negotiation on the labor reform with little room for maneuver

  • The Executive hopes to dissipate with minor changes the doubts raised by the pact reached with employers and unions

  • He believes that the positions now expressed by the partners are of departure and warns that the alternative is to return to the 2012 regulations

The Government has barely been able to savor the success of its agreement on the labor reform sealed with employers and unions on Christmas Eve. His partners in the legislature quickly warned that his support was not guaranteed. The PP anticipated that it will not support the royal decree law. The numbers, therefore, would not go to the bipartisan PSOE and United We Can. Rather: they would not come out today. Because the Executive expects that within a month, when the full Congress has to vote to validate the measure, the starting positions of the groups have evolved, and give their support in exchange, if anything, for changes less than do not detract from the agreement with employers and workers, an achievement never achieved in 40 years of democracy. While the Government conveys the message that the alternative is to return to the current labor market reform, the one approved by the PP without consensus in 2012, and that this is a core matter of the legislature, which is a lot at stake.

This Tuesday, December 28, the Council of Ministers – the last of this year, in principle – will approve the Royal Decree Law on Labor Reform, in time for it to enter into force before December 31, as promised with Brussels. It is, as they defend in the team of the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, who has carried the weight of dialogue with employers and unions in these nine months of talks, of “a paradigm shift, a historic reform that for the first time recovers workers’ rights “and seeks to tackle the temporality, one of the endemic evils of the labor market in Spain, which according to the latest Labor Force Survey reached 26.02% in the third quarter of 2021.

As of the publication in the BOE, the Executive will have 30 working days to negotiate with the parliamentary groups. It will not be easy, because the balance achieved with the social agents walks along a thin and fragile line. “What is agreed is not touched […]. Parliament has the legitimacy to approve or not, but then it will not be our agreement, it will be something else, “he warned this Monday. at RNE the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi. That is to say, that the employer’s association, which has already suffered internal tears for giving its majority approval to the decree-law –they abstained Foment del Treball, CEIM, Anfac and Asaja— threatens to break the agreement if there are changes in Congress.

PNV and Bildu emphasize the prevalence of regional agreements, and ERC agrees with the Basque sovereignists in that it falls short

The members of the Executive, however, want that. Modifications. The PNV It only finds “one obstacle” to offer its support to an agreement that it “values ​​and respects”, but it is a “big” obstacle: it wants the text to include the prevalence of regional agreements, to safeguard the Basque framework of labor relations. Collect She shares this claim but it is much tougher: she feels “tremendously disappointed”, in the words of Arnaldo Otegi. He speaks of a “bad agreement” and warns that “in no case” will he support the reform as it is written. ERC converges with the Basque sovereignty: finds “very important deficiencies“that make your favorable vote” today is not guaranteed. “” There is room for improvement in processing salaries, compensation [por despido], the role of the Administration in dismissals of companies that have received aid and the prevalence of regional collective agreements, “republican sources tell this newspaper.

“Very offensive”

Socialists and purple agree in defending the consensus reached. The spokesman for the executive of the PSOE, Felipe Sicilia, on Monday asked the members of the Executive and the rest of the groups to respect “the maximum possible“The reform agreed with the social agents, because it is the result of nine months of intense work. Let them” listen to them “, he told the parties, and” as far as possible keep what they have signed“. Sicilia expressed the thesis that the socialist parliamentary spokesman, Héctor Gómez, was already expressing to this newspaper in an interview published last Friday. United We Can, advanced Pablo Echenique on TVE, undertakes already a round of contacts with the partners to support the decree law.

The employer warns that the agreement will be lifted if there are changes in the lower house: “The agreement is not touched,” says Garamendi

In Yolanda Díaz’s environment they maintain, in fact, that they will go “very offensive“, explaining to the groups the benefits of the text. Moreover, they emphasize that in these months they have kept the partners up to date on the content of the negotiations, their limits.” We are convinced that we will convince them, “they point out. The purple ones remember that aspects such as the cost of dismissal have not been the subject of debate with the social agents because it was left out of the coalition program with the PSOE [aquí en PDF]. The same occurs with regional agreements: they insist, the “confusing” wording of the Article 84 of the Workers’ Statute. Garamendi warned that he would not admit the prevalence of regional agreements, because it would break “market unity.”

Díaz herself, like the Minister of Inclusion, José Luis Escrivá, was optimistic this Monday about the reform’s becoming a parliamentarian. She herself valued consensus, the first of long-range agreed with all social agents since 1980, and issued the notice that to knock it down would be to return to 2012, to the unilateral decree of the PP. “It is very difficult to say no to this rule. We have been working with social agents since March 17 and we have had many encounters with political forces. Now the final debate opens and we have to let the political forces do their job. Not validating would be that the company agreement continues to prevail or that they remain without ultra-activity, as the workers of Cádiz claimed “, held in ‘La brújula’, by Onda Cero, this Monday night. The crucial process is validation: Congress gives its endorsement of the decree or not, and then it can accept to process it as a bill, which would allow amendments to be introduced in both Houses.

“It would be very difficult to say no to this labor reform,” emphasizes Yolanda Díaz. In their team they recognize that before there was initial opposition to other measures, and in the end they ended up leaving

Another actor in play (theoretical) is Citizens. The oranges believe that Unidos Podemos has taken up some of the proposals that they themselves signed with the PSOE in 2016, which the purple ones rejected then, according to their spokesman in Congress, Edmundo Bal. The liberals celebrate the agreement with the social agents, acknowledge that there are proposals that they like (such as reducing the number of contracts, penalizing employers who abuse the temporality or the consolidation of ertes), but they disagree on other points such as the return to ultra-activity or the rebalancing in favor of sectorial agreements over company agreements. For now, PSOE and UP do not fix their attention on Cs, because “even if he gave his votes for free“It would withdraw the rest of the groups. And the nine votes of Inés Arrimadas, by themselves, are not enough, they add.

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In the leadership of the PSOE and in Labor they emphasize that the members of the legislature now express “starting positions”, Of maximums, but that will later be diluted when the negotiation becomes discreet. It happened with the ley riders, they point out the purples: There was a lot of parliamentary opposition and in the end it was approved in a month and without amendments. Now it would be inexplicable, they argue, not to validate an unprecedented agreement with employers and unions. A month ahead. An eternity in politics. They say it in Moncloa: “That is not the problem today”.

Another difficult validation: the mask decree

The Council of Ministers approved last Thursday the Royal decree law that reimposed the mask abroad. Another text that raises doubts, when not rejected, among the groups. The Executive is not guaranteed its validation either. The socialist spokesman in Congress, Héctor Gómez, already affirmed in an interview in this newspaper that he did not rule out that there were changes in the procedure. From the top of their party in the Lower House they point out that before the vote is taken, the Executive may be forced to order more rules to stop the unstoppable rise of infections given the expansion of the omicron variant. In that case, it would be the Government that would want to introduce amendments, or the one that may not be interested in the validation if, on the contrary, the wave has slowed and it is possible to reverse the mandatory nature of the mask on the street.

When will the House vote? Sources of the socialist leadership point out that not decided, but the full validation of the masks decree and the labor reform decree could be set for the end of January, in an extraordinary session. Actually, their Lordships could be summoned at the beginning of February (the 30 days that the Executive has to obtain the endorsement of the Chamber are capable, a little more than a calendar month), but the intention, for now, is split the vote the start of the campaign for the regional elections of Castile and Leon of the 13-F, the 28 of January. The week before the elections, as is always the case when there is an electoral call, there is no plenary session in Congress.

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