Labor and the Economy have sat down this afternoon to review, once again, the content of the labor reform. They have not been alone, members of the Treasury, Social Security and Education were also present, in a meeting that has lasted about three hours at the Ministry of Labor. The meeting is part of the new internal coordination scheme agreed on Wednesday by the two Executive formations, PSOE and United We Can, to ease the crisis unleashed between the two souls of the Government over this issue. Next Tuesday there is a key meeting: President Sánchez has summoned Vice Presidents Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz, with more ministers, to try to bury internal differences.
What is at stake when we talk about the “repeal of the PP labor reform”
This afternoon’s meeting ended around 8 p.m. and had as its subject the debate on the content of the labor reform. It has been chaired by the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, who this morning attended alone representing the Government – as every week to date – to the social dialogue table that negotiates future labor legislation with unions and employers. Shortly after this table with the social agents began, Moncloa announced the agreement with United We Can to create a new scheme of inter-ministerial meetings through which various socialist ministries will from now on have a more active role in labor reform.
Joaquín Pérez Rey has debated the text of the labor reform proposal that is on the social dialogue table with Gonzalo García, Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support; María José Gualda Romero, Secretary of State for Budgets and Expenditures (Treasury); Israel Arroyo, Secretary of State for Social Security; and Clara Sanz López, Secretary General for Professional Training (Education). Except for Labor, the rest of the departments are directed by the PSOE.
The ministries that have played a leading role in the meeting, in addition to Labor, have been Economy and Finance, according to government sources, although all departments have had an “active” role.
From the repeal of the PP reform to temporary status
According to the sources consulted, the meeting has been dedicated to addressing the draft of the labor reform in a broad manner. This includes what is called the “repeal of the PP labor reform” through the dismantling of several key elements of the legislation approved by Mariano Rajoy. They mainly affect collective bargaining between unions and employers, such as the recovery of the sectoral agreement over that of the company and the ultra-activity of collective agreements (their extension once their validity expires and a new one has not been agreed), among other issues .
This bloc is one of the most conflictive between the Economy and Labor, as the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, has publicly stated in recent days. In the socialist part of the Government, on the other hand, they deny differences of content between the two souls of the Executive. Although it does not expressly mention the repeal of the PP norm, Minister Isabel Rodríguez has insisted that the Socialists remain committed to the coalition agreement and to the inauguration speech of President Sánchez, which does include this electoral promise.
But the labor legislation that the Government is going to pass before the end of the year is much more than this. It also includes several measures to tackle the excessive temporary nature in the Spanish labor market, such as the reduction of contracts and a greater sanction for the abuses of irregular temporary contracts, among others. This issue is central, in order to meet the European recommendations to Spain, and it also generates differences within the coalition.
The regulation also includes the creation of what are informally known as “permanent ERTE”: the mechanism of employment sustainability. The Government intends to break the recurring logic of the labor market in Spain whereby companies destroy a lot of jobs in the face of economic crises or uncertainties. The aim is to create an internal flexibility tool that, as has happened with ERTEs during the pandemic, will encourage companies to resort to reductions in working hours and not the termination of contracts.
Training contracts are another very relevant leg of the regulation, which will try to make them a true gateway for young people to the labor market. Something that does not happen at the moment, in which these contracts are used very little.
There will be no more inter-ministerial meetings for the remainder of the week, but there will be “contacts” between the parties, the coalition explains. Next Tuesday, November 2, a key meeting takes place. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will meet with the two vice presidents most at odds on this matter, Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz, as well as the Ministries of Finance, Social Security and Education and Education “to establish the Government’s position on the social dialogue table, under the terms of the coalition government agreement, “Moncloa explained in a statement.