The possibility of a quiet approval of the labor reform in Congress moves away before the increasing insistence of the parliamentary partners of the Executive to modify aspects of the labor legislation of the Rajoy era that have remained unaddressed in the pact between the Government, unions and employers: matters such as severance pay, administrative authorization of the eres or the recovery of wages for workers unfairly dismissed between the time of termination and the court ruling, which are the declared objective by forces such as ERC, EH Bildu or Más País. As ‘El Periódico de España’ advanced, these groups work in a common front to give more parliamentary power to these demands, and in view of this perspective, the Government and social agents are preparing to negotiate.
It is precisely the matters of the left, those that have to do in one way or another with the dismissal, those that most concern the Executive and the social agents, according to sources of the negotiation, because they are the ones that have the most potential to scare away CEOE: the employer has already warned several times that if the agreement is touched, they will dissociate themselves from the agreement and will face future negotiations with distrust. These sources suggest that the main problem is that “CEOE arrives with very little margin for parliamentary negotiation, after an agreement that did not get the support of some of the main sector and territorial employers”, such as that of the countryside, that of the motor , the Madrilenian or the Catalan.
The other requirement of the groups, a greater role for the regional agreements, is taken for granted that will be incorporated into the text; Despite the fact that the employers argue that this step would damage the “market unit”, the pressure of the groups of the nationalist right, such as the PNV, and the fact that the organizations that make up CEOE already sign hundreds of provincial and regional agreements plays in favor of a change in this matter, especially if it is written “in a light way, betting on inter-federal agreements or with other formulas that are not to directly propose that the regional agreement prevails over the state one,” points out a union leader.
Counter offer to CEOE
The key, then, is how to introduce changes that can be endorsed by both the parliamentary left and the bosses; not an easy task. Those consulted are committed to delving into the restrictions on outsourcing, which was already touched on in the recently approved reform, and in matters that were dropped in the last phase of the negotiations to get the employer to enter into the agreement, such as the business power to unilaterally change the working conditions of its employees. The advantage of these matters over that of dismissal is that they were up for debate in the last negotiating round, so that their reopening will be less burdensome for CEOE than entering into contract terminations, a matter that – due to controversy – was never discussed at the table negotiation.
In exchange for the modifications to please the parliamentary partners, the negotiators also contemplate some change in favor of the employer’s association. One of the tweaks that CEOE aspires to, according to business sources, is greater flexibility in terms of temporality for employees. agricultural sector contracts, something that -again- was already raised at the dialogue table although it was not finally adopted.
The shadow of Europe
The modifications made to the text agreed with employers and unions must also take Brussels into account, a factor that will weigh on the negotiations with the groups. And it cannot be forgotten that the European Commission has repeatedly warned, in private and in public, that a setback in some of the reforms already endorsed by the EU could lead to the stoppage of delivery of European funds.
The Operational Agreement says so clearly, the agreement signed last November between the Government and the European Commission, in which the measures undertaken by Spain and the timetable for their implementation are detailed: “the satisfactory fulfillment of milestones and objectives presupposes that the measures related to the milestones and objectives satisfactorily met previously have not been reversed by the Member State ”. So if changes are made to the labor reform (or any other) that are “of a material nature as to affect the evaluation already carried out,” the Government must notify Brussels and provide explanations relevant.
The unions’ plan: reforms’ by and by ‘
In addition to the Government, in the coming weeks the social agents will also exert their influence on the parliamentary groups to ensure that, if they introduce changes, these are compatible with the text agreed before Christmas Eve. Among the arguments that the unions will put on the table of parties such as ERC or EH Bildu, as this newspaper has learned, is that a good part of their demands will be addressed in the coming months: “Now that we have finished the dialogue to three, we are going to put pressure on the Government to address all those other pending issues: the cost of dismissal, the administrative authorization of the eres …” confides a union leader. “It doesn’t have to be with another great dialogue table; what we want is for all these things to be corrected, even in small pieces, one by one ”, he explains.