The Republicans and the PNV coincide in claiming from the Government the prevalence of regional agreements over state ones to vote ‘yes’ in Congress to the labor law
When the employers’ associations and the most representative unions in Catalonia signed on February 7, 2021 the first Catalan collective agreement of the geriatrics sector they did not know that this could end up being one of the keys to the parliamentary success or failure of the new labour reform. And it is that introducing the prevalence of regional agreements on the state is one of the shared demands of ERC Y PNV to lend their votes to the coalition government and thus ensure that one of the star regulations of the legislature is validated in the Congress.
Last February 7 UGT, CCOO and the bosses ACRA, UCH Y CAPSS they signed the first autonomic agreement that in Catalonia regulated the sector of concerted residences, agreeing, among others, an increase in 6% of wages, enabled by the extra resources provided by the Generalitat. The problem came months later, when the state leaders of the employers’ associations challenged and prosecuted the agreement. Currently, the law establishes that the social agents at the regional level can only negotiate their own agreement if they are authorized to do so by the state level. Something that ERC and PNV want to change to reinforce the autonomy of the Collective negotiation from their respective territories and reinforce the uniqueness of their labor relations.
According to the official records of the Ministry of Labor, in Catalonia there are a total of 24 regional agreements -such as the one for geriatrics- that cover 338,474 workers, out of a salaried population of 2.9 million workers, that is, they cover 11.7% of Catalan salaried workers . Collective bargaining is usually structured at the provincial or state level, with the autonomous community being a residual sphere in most territories. In Spain, out of a salaried population of 15.3 million workers, only 877,858 employees (5.7%) are covered by a multiprovincial regional collective agreement. not like this Basque Country, where the concertation has pushed collective bargaining towards that sphere and both employers and unions have signed since 2017 that the regional agreements prevail over the state ones. Agreement that bears the signature of the current secretary general of the CCOO, Unai Sordo, then leader of the Basque federation.
“We consider it essential to give prominence to the Catalan agreements and reinforce and provide more tools to the Work inspection of Catalonia”, established the position of the president of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, and the spokesman on labor issues in Congress, Jordi Salvador, in a recent article in ‘Público.es’.
Balances between Congress and the CEOE
The part of the autonomous agreements is the least harmful for the companies of the long list of modifications proposed by the Republicans in relation to the labor reform. Well, in the multiple claims of ERC it appears to make dismissal more expensive, recover the administrative authorization of the workers or the processing wages, among others. Elements that generate the direct rejection of the CEOE and that, if introduced, would cause it to drop from an agreement that they already entered for the minimum, as the leader of the businessmen already warned, Antonio Garamendi.
The prevalence of regional agreements over state ones is not liked in CEOE, nor in UGT. Yes in CCOO -as it left in writing in its recent confederal congress-, as well as in regional employer associations such as Pimec. Other potential allies of the coalition government in Congress enter this network of balances, such as the PNV or eh Bildu, who need to sell their electorates some improvement with respect to the reform agreed with the social agents to support it. And it is that with the part of the regional agreements the PSOE and United We Can reissue part of the majority of the investiture, not generate an uncontrollable fire in the social dialogue and avoid depending on the abstentions of PP and/or C’s to validate the reform .