Thursday, September 29

Several attempts to break up, struggle of egos and last minute calls: this is how the labor reform was conceived

When el President of the CEOE, Antonio GaramendiThis week, he assured about the labor reform that the agreement “is not touched”, he did so because he has the commitment of Pedro Sánchez and his Government not to alter the labor reform in its parliamentary process. The same promise made to union leaders, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez, after marathon nine-month negotiations turned into a roller coaster, in which there has been a fight of egos, last-minute calls and several attempts to break up, finally settled with an agreement in which companies will continue to make use of flexibility, the ultra-activity of the agreements will be recovered and the abuse of temporality will be pursued,

limited to highly valued causes. An agreement that came to be on the wire only a few hours before closing, at dawn on the 23rd, because the wording of the new subcontract framework did not convince the employers. The companies broke the deck.

At two in the morning the pact finally arrived, a few hours after the governing bodies of the employers and the unions met to say yes to the rule, which reflects a pact of balances in which all have given in order to achieve a meeting point that would allow Spain to present a reform with consensus, at the pleasure of Brussels, before the 31st and thus be able to collect a new item of 12,000 million from European funds.

And this will be precisely the weighty argument that the Government will now use before its partners to justify a “country agreement” and “respect” for the norm agreed with employers and unions. “Each precept is agreed, measured and rethought,” it said yesterday the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, after the Council of Ministers which gave the green light to the rule. “We have the vocation to continue as it is,” he said.

Direct dart to Government partners. They do not seem to be thinking of distorting the new labor norm, as they intend ERC, PNV and EH Bildu, installed in no. A position that they will only abandon if the decree is processed as a bill, previously agreeing on its amendments to the text. Díaz will continue to hold negotiations with these parliamentary groups to reach an agreement before the rule reaches Congress at the end of January. In search of a parliamentary arithmetic he will touch all the sticks, also Citizens, inclined to give a yes to the reform after a negotiation.

The PNV will not support, however, as long as it does not collect the prevalence of regional agreements over state agreements, a historic request that the employers reject outright because “Would break market unity” and it would substantially alter the new wording of article 84 of the Statute, which in its current wording, will maintain the prevalence of the company agreement over the sector, except in wages.

Partners squeeze

The demands of ERC and EH Bildu go through repealing the entire reform of the PP, as agreed by Pedro Sánchez with the ‘nationalist left’ in May 2020 in exchange for it not hindering the extension of the state of alarm decreed to stop the Covid emergency. The president did not keep his word and the repeal mutated into the “most damaging aspects.”

What the Government is clear about is that altering the reform in the least would have undesirable consequences for social dialogue. “If I reach a pact and change it, I do not know why I am going to sit on the following occasions,” he warned Garamendi to the Executive threatening to get off the hook for an agreed reform in which they seemed predestined not to get on from the moment the negotiations began, in March. A few months later, in June, one of the hardest crashes was already taking place. The CEOE described the draft reform presented by Yolanda Díaz as an “interventionist, regressive and misaligned initiative with the needs of the business fabric and workers,” a “Marxist” proposal, with “deep ideological roots.” At that time, Brussels was already pressing Spain, it wanted results, but the government’s clock and its haste were not running at the desired speed either in the social dialogue or in the same Executive. Calvin Y Diaz have fought to impose changes that would barely modify the 2012 norm, if the thesis of the first vice president prevailed, and that it would be more drastic if the ideas of the head of Labor, Podemos and part of the PSOE.

The tensions between the two and the confrontation between Labor and the CEOE ended up forcing Pedro Sánchez to sneak the first vice president into the negotiation, Nadia Calvin, and the holder of Social Security, Jose Luis Escrivá last October (its role has been diluted in the negotiation). That same month, Calviño had requested by email to Díaz to join the negotiating table with unions and employers, which provoked a protest from the head of Labor in The Moncloa for not understanding the request of his colleague in the cabinet seven months after starting the negotiations. The vice presidents’ clash caused an urgent meeting of the coalition that resulted in a statement in which it was assured that “the Government is committed to repealing the reform of the PP in the terms established by the coalition agreement and the Recovery Plan sent to European Comission».

Nor with Calvin In the negotiation, an attempt to break up with the businessmen could be avoided. Faced with a new proposal for maximums by Díaz in temporality, the employer presented at the beginning of that month, already in discount time, its own reform with which it would change the pace of a stalled negotiation, after revealing which were its red lines. This ‘amendment to the whole’ to the proposal of the government It was key to the definitive turn in the negotiation that days later would crystallize in a pact.

Behind the footsteps of the bosses have been the priests of the labor market. Sagardoy, Garrigues, Cuatrecasas Y Arinsa, without forgetting Fátima Báñez, ideologist of the PP reform and advisor to the president of entrepreneurs. His steps have been guided by his proposals, which Rosa Santos, the CEOE labor manager, has defended at the negotiation tables.

The one that comes into force today after its publication in the BOE the first reform agreed in 15 years, it is not a repeal, nor does it resemble it. It is rather a reform of the reform, in which, among others, a meeting point has been sought to tackle the high rate of temporary employment in Spain, 26%. To adapt to the new limitations in eventual contracts, a transitional period (‘vacatio legis’) of three months is set for companies to adapt their temporary hiring to the new standard, which will be extended up to six months in the case of the disappeared contract of work or service.

There will be no photo

At the moment there will be no photo for posterity at La Moncloa. The businessmen have rejected the Government’s proposal until they verify that the content is not altered in a negotiation with the Government partners. This was stated yesterday by Lorenzo Amor, president of they, who, like Garamendi, made it clear that they will not accept that “not a single comma” of the pact is touched. “Undoubtedly, the CEOE will not be in any photo until the parliamentary process is finished,” he said. A parliamentary majority is the one they also expect UGT Y CC.OO. that in a joint statement they assured that the agreement is “a milestone in the history of our country.”

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