The general secretary of CC OO, Unai Sordo, has asked the Government to take a step forward and take “the reins” of the negotiation of a rent agreement that is stopped, and that is necessary to face “the chronification of the inflationary process” that is causing the sustained increase in prices due to the war in Ukraine. The union leader has lamented that at the moment there is “no space for negotiation built” for its definition, and has summoned the Government to act, since the effects of inflation on society are “in the public interest”.
For Sordo, the increase in prices —which in May stood at 8.7%— is justified today by an international context totally opposite to the one that existed at the time when the Government summoned the social agents to design this pact . “With the war in Ukraine everything has changed, there has been a chronification of the inflationary process and both Spain and the European Union have to become aware and act.”
As it has recognized, the Government’s initial approach regarding the composition of the income agreement also started from a mistaken premise, such as the consideration that the rise in prices would be temporary, and, therefore, the measures they had to be adapted to a phenomenon of limited duration. “The income pact was also confused with a salary pact, when this should go much further,” said the leader of CC OO, during a forum organized this Thursday at the Economic and Social Council (CES). As he has detailed, the income agreement should be made up of four different plans: an energy agreement that corrects the deficiencies of the pool energy, another tax, another focused on the distribution of income and another to address the problem of housing.
As for the reasons why the negotiation to renew the Employment and Collective Bargaining Agreement (AENC) has failed – the effects of a future renewal will not apply in 2022 – one of the main reasons was due to the inability of trade unions and business organizations to agree on a wage growth path for the next three years. A failure that originated, according to Sordo, as a consequence of the “lack of co-responsibility on the part of the employers”, due to their outright refusal to incorporate salary clauses “with which to prevent salary devaluation”.
Although recalling that the negotiating power to define a wage growth path rests solely with unions and business organizations, Sordo recalled that the Government has “some levers” to act in a situation of disagreement such as the current one, as it is through of fiscal policies. “A tax on large companies with higher returns is a way of showing that it is possible to distribute income even without touching wages”, he pointed out. “The country needs a distribution of income at a time like this,” he remarked.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
After the act of the CES, Sordo joined the concentration that his union organized jointly with the UGT in Madrid, and in which it brought together more than 1,500 unionists who are currently negotiating the renewal of different collective agreements to transfer the guidelines to follow during their processes. “We have to get wages to rise in our country. Either the agreements are unblocked, or the pressure is going to increase in the coming months”, said Pepe Álvarez, general secretary of the UGT.
As Álvarez has acknowledged, the proposal to raise wages for the next three years proposed by the centrals adds up to 8% as a whole, but incorporates the presence of wage clauses that correct the deviation on the evolution of inflation. “It makes no sense for us to enter into a confrontational process. Salary increases must be in line with the situation we are experiencing, and with the good results that companies are reaping”, he stressed.