Sunday, October 2

The value of the reform

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Towards the end of 2011, Mariano Rajoy called the social agents – unions and employers – and asked them to agree on a labor reform. The objective was to dismantle the human meat grinder that Spanish labor legislation had become, especially when it came to adjusting the perimeter of some companies that had been left without activity in some places, but not in others. They did not succeed, so Rajoy called Fátima Báñez, who was his chosen Minister of Employment, and told her what Joaquín Prat said in ‘The fair price’: “Let’s play!”. Báñez had been preparing 72 measures that should radically change the situation. With that, he put together a reform that he announced in the Council

of Ministers on Friday, February 10, 2012.

The reform unblocked the most contentious issues, especially the increased cost of dismissal that penalized the youngest and protected veterans. Changes that the unions would never propose, because it seemed cannibalistic to them, and that the employers considered that they would not provoke an agreement. Once this scenario was resolved, in February 2012 the ‘II Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining’ was produced, where the social agents reached a series of agreements that, in a responsible way, assumed the severity of the recession, were added to the need to gain productivity with moderate wage increases and made the internal life of companies as flexible as possible. Politics fulfilled its mission to mark a path and the social agents adapted.

In Spain we forget that at critical moments in our history there has been a lot of greatness and that is why, badly or well, we are here. We forget it when we should take an example of it.

The great virtue of this labor reform is not in the personal promotion of the ministers Yolanda Díaz or José Luis Escrivá. Not even in that of Antonio Garamendi, Pepe Álvarez or Unai Sordo. The greatest gain from this agreement exercise is that it has brought the two banks of the river closer together, that of the employers and unions, and has greased the possibility of a great agreement for employment and collective bargaining that would allow us to overcome the post-pandemic and the challenges that are going to be presented to us, especially the soaring inflation. In the same way that, at the time, the ERTEs were a success, this dynamic is virtuous and we should take advantage of it.

The attitude of Pablo Casado and the PP is incomprehensible because it is not very intelligent, especially when the members of the PSOE themselves are showing their teeth to Pedro Sánchez. I’ve seen someone misplay their cards, but never to this point. The PP should offer its support to all aspects that involve the maintenance or improvement of its 2012 measures and pull the mediocrity of Sánchez’s reform to improve it -with the Austrian backpack or the active promotion of employment- so that it is good for Spain. [email protected]

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