The leaks and the latest government proposal on ERTEs strain the negotiation of the labor reform

The so-called repeal of the labor reform has not been resolved with the agreement reached within the Government (between the PSOE and United We Can) to define its scope. This Wednesday the second meeting of the dialogue table that addresses the modernization of the labor market was held after the agreement reached between ‘those of Pedro Sánchez’ and ‘those of Yolanda Díaz’, and the first and first tensions have already been verified warnings by some social agents that these negotiations could run aground.

Even before the Socialists and the confederal space closed an agreement on the contents of the reform, another pact was produced to “distribute” the presence of the Government in the negotiations. Until now (the dialogue table had been working on the labor reform for seven months) only the Ministry of Labor was present, through the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquin Perez Rey, who spoke directly with the interlocutors of CCOO, UGT, CEOE and Cepyme.

After the conflict in the Government over this issue, it was decided that the Ministry of Economy, led by Nadia calviño, and the Social Security, directed by Jose Luis Escrivá, were also present at this table through two general directors. In addition, on Tuesdays, before the table that takes place every Wednesday, Labor, Economy and Social Security would meet to prepare meetings with social agents and formalize proposals.

In the last meeting, the Executive has brought a new proposal to convert the ERTE into a permanent formula. Regarding the substance of this new mechanism proposed by the Government (the first one that contains the contributions of the Economy and Social Security), the formula is not liked by unions or employers.

Broadly speaking, the workers’ representatives regret that this RED Mechanism for Flexibility and Stabilization of Employment (that’s what it’s called) does not include a clear commitment to keep the job; and the business community considers that the measures it contains are full of “interventionism” and economically harm businesses. Furthermore, both social agents believe that the text is “very complicated” and “cumbersome”.

But beyond the technical details, which will continue to be negotiated in future meetings, the forms and context of this latest proposal have greatly strained the dialogue table; so much so that the unions warn that an agreement has been “jeopardized”.

“Be more agile”

The trade union organizations criticize that, less than two months before the negotiations are concluded (the Government pledged with the European Union to have the reforms ready in 2021), the Executive has ‘pulled out of its sleeve’ a new proposal on ERTE permanent, giving a significant change in the structure that has been negotiated in recent months (A proposal from the Ministry of Labor called MSE, Mechanism for Sustainability in Employment).

“We have been in 30 meetings, almost 8 months of negotiation, in which this issue has not been on the table, at least in terms similar to those now raised. It has not been clear to us what is the objective of this proposal in which They introduce matters that have nothing to do with the object of this negotiation “, they assure from CCOO.

In addition, the fact that the Government’s text is, in the opinion of the social agents, complex, and that it addresses matters such as the restructuring of entire sectors or the relocation of workers between companies, causes, in the opinion of the trade union organizations, that it takes “a longer negotiation process in time, not very compatible with the urgency of the matters that we have to resolve in the short term. “

Along these lines, from the UGT they advance that “we have asked the Government to reconsider its proposal, which in this case has only served to slow down this process in which we should be more agile to reach an agreement in which the commitments acquired by the Government with the citizenship “and with” the European authorities are respected.

“The permanent leakage of documents helps little to the good progress of this negotiation”

But it is not only the so-called RED mechanism that causes discomfort in social dialogue, but also the lack of discretion. Before Wednesday’s meeting, the draft containing the new government proposal was leaked, so it was made public even before formally reaching the dialogue table. In addition, before the end of the meeting, the result of the meeting was already known and that the social agents had opposed the new mechanism proposed by the Executive. These two events have caused discomfort among some of the actors at the table.

“The permanent filtering of documents, in addition to the very result of the negotiating tables when they have not concluded, it helps little to the good progress of that negotiation “, warn the union organizations.

Until now, according to union sources, specific documents had always reached the social dialogue table earlier than the media, which, in turn, allowed another way of dealing with meetings.

What seems clear is that the incorporation of the new ministries to the negotiation of the dialogue table for labor reform is changing the negotiation methodology, in substance and in form, which does nothing but put stones in the way , when time is short.

Less than two months before the end of the term to approve the labor reform (in this period of time some six more “ordinary” meetings would be scheduled), the dialogue table seems more tense than ever, and the union organizations are already warning that the agreements could run aground if the negotiations are not expedited and focus on the matters agreed with Europe: stability in employment, limit temporary employment and precariousness; rebalance collective bargaining and articulate internal flexibility mechanisms as an alternative to dismissal.


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