The internal criticism in CEOE about the labor reform agreed with the coalition government does not stop. This Monday they even came from one of the employers’ associations that has also reached an agreement with the Executive, Cepyme. Its president, Gerardo Cuerva, assures in an interview in El Mundo that the legislation is “a penalty”. In this context, the CEOE leader, Antonio Garamendi, has brought out a relevant actor from the rear of the bosses to support the agreement: the former PP minister, architect of the 2012 labor reform, Fátima Báñez.
The former Minister of Employment Fátima Báñez receives a director’s salary as president of the CEOE Foundation
Báñez, who has chaired the CEOE Foundation board of trustees since 2020, participated this Monday alongside the president of the employers’ association, Antonio Garamendi, in a meeting with Ciudadanos on the reform of the labor market agreed in the social dialogue. The meeting with Inés Arrimadas, which also discussed the future contribution model for the self-employed that is being negotiated with Minister Escrivá, also included the participation of Lorenzo Amor, president of the ATA self-employed association.
The presence of the former Minister of Employment of the PP is not trivial. First because she, because of her charge, does not seem to explain her participation in the meeting. Báñez heads the employer’s foundation for charitable causes and business promotion. Asked about her presence at the meeting, CEOE told elDiario.es that Báñez had come “because they were also going to talk about the self-employed” and the former minister “clarified some technical issue for them.” “In any case, we receive and serve, we do not manage parliamentary support,” they add in the employers’ association.
Secondly, the fact that she is part of the meeting is remarkable because of who Fátima Báñez is. This is the political leader who coined the labor reform of Mariano Rajoy in 2012, enemy ‘number 1′ for the left-wing forces, and the leader of the employers’ association has seated her this Monday by his side as the face of the agreement of the new legislation agreed by businessmen and unions with the coalition government of PSOE and United We Can.
The current reform seeks to reduce temporality and basically dismantles the PP rule into two elements (primacy of the company agreement and limit to the ultra-activity of collective agreements). Thus, for some voices on the left, the legislation resulting from the tripartite social agreement is undemanding for not overthrowing more elements of the Báñez reform, while for other voices on the right and among businessmen it is “a shame” as a result of the ” communist part of the government in the Ministry of Labour”, paraphrasing Gerardo Cuerva. The latter are the ones that address and attack Antonio Garamendi as the leader of the businessmen.
A photo that works as a message
The stellar appearance of Fátima Báñez together with Garamendi seems to send a message regarding the labor reform agreed by the CEOE, minimizing its impact against the legislation that she herself signed in the Rajoy government. Or so Inés Arrimadas herself has interpreted it at least at the end of the meeting.
The leader of Ciudadanos has announced her support for the labor reform “if Sánchez does not give in to the demands of his separatist partners” and, in addition, has pointed out that the tripartite agreement has meant “consolidating elements of modernity and flexibility” of the PP reform of 2012. As “proof” of this, Arrimadas has highlighted the support for the reform of the Minister of Employment at the meeting on Monday.
The critical voices against Garamendi not only come from the business environment. The opposition of the Popular Party to the labor reform agreed by the Government, the unions and the CEOE has soured relations between the leader of the opposition, Pablo Casado, and part of the employers. Fátima Báñez herself has argued that the new norm is heir to yours, which does not fit with the refusal of his party to reject it in Congress. Too Rajoy described the changes as “minimal”.
Casado meets with critical employers
Casado and Antonio Garamendi have shown strong discrepancies in public. Twice, both have tried to reconcile in the spotlight. The last time, they alternated the dialectical pampering with the entrenchment of their respective positions.
In recent days, while trying to be friendly with the boss of the bosses, the president of the PP has made a round of contacts with other business leaders. Some openly opposed to labor reform.
This is the case of the automobile manufacturers (Anfac), who abstained in the executive commission of the CEOE that ratified the support for the new norm, or of the tourism sector. In a conference organized by Exceltur, Casado reiterated his promises of generalized tax reductions for entrepreneurs in the sector while criticizing the new labor framework, which has one of its main objectives in reducing temporary employment and precariousness.