The CEOE recommends a staggered 8% salary increase over three years

After last week the failure of the wage pact negotiations between employers and unions was consummated, this Tuesday the CEOE prepared the steps to follow in a scenario that, without this agreement, is very bumpy.

The CEOE recommends a staggered 8% salary increase over three years

After last week the failure of the wage pact negotiations between employers and unions was consummated, this Tuesday the CEOE prepared the steps to follow in a scenario that, without this agreement, is very bumpy. The employers' executive committee issued its recommendations to the companies. The essential point is to reject linking the salary increase to inflation, and instead, proposes that it be related to the productivity of each sector and each company. As La Vanguardia advanced, on Monday the general secretaries of the employers' association already prepared the draft recommendation in which they insisted on salary moderation and on leaving each sector a free hand so that, depending on its situation, it could modulate the increases.

What is recommended is that it is essential to consider the specific circumstances of each area of ​​negotiation, be it the company or the sector, taking into account productivity and employment, so that the result does not harm the competitive capacity of the company.

At this Tuesday's meeting, President Antonio Garamendi's initial approach was to propose a range of salary increases this year with a maximum limit of 3.5%, or even to set this specific figure as a recommendation, but in the end it was preferred not to Specify no percentage. Several interventions, especially from the hospitality sector, opposed mentioning figures and that is how it remained in the official recommendation.

However, what underlies the recommendation is a 3.5% increase this year. Outside the meeting, in statements to the media, Garamendi gave clues when he stated that an increase of 3.5% this year would be "prudent", to then add that what would not be prudent at all is "inflating wages".

It is a way of recovering the last proposal that the employers raised at the negotiating table, which meant an increase of 3.5% this year, 2.5% in 2023 and 2% in 2024. In total, 8 % in three years, which are figures not very far from those proposed by the unions, but with a big difference, they were closed figures, not subject to revision based on the increase in inflation, as was the CCOO claim. and UGT. They are the famous salary review clauses, essential for the unions but intolerable for the employers.

These clauses and skyrocketing inflation are the factors that have led to the failure of this renewal of the Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC), which should provide the reference for negotiating the agreements. We will have to play without that reference and with assured union mobilizations.

The employers' thesis is that a significant rise in wages would mean an increase in labor costs that could create a barrier to entry into the labor market for unemployed people, that it would reduce the margin for introducing variable remuneration criteria and that it would encourage the inflationary spiral.

In its recommendations, the CEOE specifies that wage increases should not be linked to inflation as it is a very "volatile" concept, and also because it feeds back into price growth. In addition, it is added that in the event that this link is finally accessed, limits or ceilings are established, and that, in any case, retroactivity in salary updates is not accepted, since in these cases, it is impossible to pass on its effects. in the cost of products.

The CEOE's preference would be to relate salary increases not to inflation, but to other variables, such as productivity, employment, GDP behavior, competitiveness or company results.

On the other hand, the employers do not forget to remind their members that, in an adverse situation such as the current one, they have the possibility of using the pick-up clause, that is, the option of not applying the working conditions agreed in the agreements when there are economic, technical or organizational reasons, after carrying out a consultation period.

In this way, and as feared, inflation has become an insurmountable obstacle to achieving this salary agreement, which would have provided a reference for the negotiation of the agreements and would have ensured a much calmer negotiation scenario. The employers do not rule out that, when inflation drops to lower levels, negotiations can be resumed, but this is not expected to happen until next year.

In this way, given the position of the employers and the immediate response of the unions (see information on this same page), we enter a zone of labor conflict. There is no frame of reference, and the unions demand to recover the lost purchasing power.


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