Saturday, September 25

Social fall

This coalition government between PSOE and UP has already been a year and a half. Exactly one year and eight months has completed the “impossible” government that overcame so many obstacles to its formation, such as the lack of an absolute majority between both political forces, the novelty of the coalition in Spain and the insomnia of President Sánchez himself.

And I say that the Government has been in the past year and a half because that is the way it is. A year and a half and not three years as many insist on affirming. It is true that Sánchez and part of the Government have already been for more than three years, but not “this” Government, different in its essence and in its program from the previous one of the president himself.

And it hasn’t been, no, an easy year and a half. With an epidemic unleashed barely two months after its formation, the Government has had to dedicate itself intensively to face it in all areas, notably in the health and social sectors, and relevant measures have been adopted to respond to the dire economic effects. About people. And of course, without neglecting the rest of the areas of intervention.

Whatever opinion is held on government action – and those that are expressed are, on many occasions, antagonistic – we must recognize the objective difficulties that the Executive has faced. Extraordinary difficulties that are added to the usual ones for any government and that have to do, naturally, with the problems generated for citizens, for people, by this epidemic. And now, when it seems that in our geographical environment the worst of the epidemic has already passed, there is still a lot, all the work to be done: a new task not foreseen when the Government was formed, but also a task already pending in January 2020 and expressly contemplated in the coalition agreement.

This is what now touches: the social agenda, the decisive intervention in the real problems of the people, which must be addressed without delay.

There is no doubt – I hope so, at least – that the Government is determined to implement this social agenda and that, despite internal debates, relevant decisions will be promoted. Otherwise, this Government will have lost all its reason for being.

Certainly, the pending issue must be resolved, which is causing many millions of people to suffer the unspeakable, which prevents them from working or, by doing so, from receiving a decent salary, living safely and calmly, being able to freely make transcendental decisions for their lives. What remains to be resolved is that which can only be resolved with decisive and profound public measures.

And what is pending? Well, what is pending is, on the one hand, in general, the problem of the vital precariousness of many people and, on the other hand, its expression in the different aspects that must be modified or intervened to solve it.

A social agenda, a social program of deep renewal. It is what is needed at the moment. A program of authentic and recognizable reforms in labor and social security matters, such as the one that we have been repeatedly told is going to be launched. A program that has to address the great needs that cannot be denied or underestimated. A program that reverses the situation that has come from the 2008 crisis, now aggravated by the effects of the epidemic, that includes determined support to directly, urgently and widely provide for these needs and also, without delay, to repeal unfair labor standards and approve others that advance social justice.

We already have several subjects on the agenda. The movement is already beginning, which I hope will not stop… And, in my opinion, some issues are a priority.

The increase in the SMI, which has been attempted within the framework of the essential social dialogue, but which, rejected by the employers, in any case the Government must decide, as is its legally foreseen competence. Once the increase has been announced, the specific figure remains to be known, always with the objective that at the end of the legislature, that is, at the end of 2023, an SMI of 60% of the average salary has been reached. A goal without which this government could never be recognized as “progress”.

The repeal of the labor reform of 2012 – and I add, also that of 2010, promoted by the Government of Rodríguez Zapatero – will be a very useful element to advance this social agenda and, of course, to comply with the Government agreement. To which should be added a very in-depth reform of the Workers’ Statute –or the approval of a new one–, for its adaptation to the new times, based on the experience of forty-one years of validity with important reforms that do not they have contributed, quite the opposite, to respond adequately to the most important problems in the field of labor relations – let us think, just to give a few examples, in the outsourcing of productive activity, in the deregulation of many basic working conditions … -.

The reform of the public pension system, now it is unnecessary to recall the constitutional mandate to guarantee its sufficiency. Without forgetting to look to the future and work for a great intergenerational agreement.

A rethinking of the minimum vital income that really allows access to it to all the people who need it, after having verified the large number that are left out of this element of social protection due to the difficulties of meeting all its requirements. Guaranteeing a dignified life requires that this benefit responds effectively to this objective, as long as access to a sufficiently paid job cannot be ensured.

The urgent ratification of ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers, pending since 2011, without any explanation that this Government has not already done so. Required ratification and adaptation of all working conditions and social protection of those who provide these services to their provisions.

And, in order not to exhaust all the issues, migration policy and due attention to all migrants must also be rethought, which involves reversing the situation of authentic “institutional racism” in which we find ourselves.

Objectives that must be achieved, yes or yes, without delay and without complexes, if we really want this State to also be, in addition to democratic and legal, a “social” State, as the Constitution proclaims.

Either autumn is social, or we will already enter a long, cold and dark winter.

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