The Secretary of State for Employment and Social Economy, Joaquín Pérez Rey, has rejected the CEOE employer’s proposal to raise the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) by territory because “it would have devastating effects in terms of market unity.”
Antonio Garamendi, president of the employer’s association, had made that suggestion hours before, claiming that Spain is “diverse” and that “Madrid and Barcelona have a cost of living that has little to do with that of other territories.” “It would be necessary to evaluate an SMI that is coupled to each territory, as does collective bargaining itself,” Garamendi said in statements to Capital Radio.
“This is completely foreign to the legal and political tradition of the country,” replied Pérez Rey at a press conference to present the unemployment and affiliation data for the month of August. The Secretary of State has insisted that “it is time” to raise the SMI, despite the fall of 118,000 average affiliates to Social Security in August. “There is no doubt,” he remarked, after insisting that good macroeconomic data should have an impact on the most vulnerable workers.
The Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, has also rejected the idea of the employer in an interview on RNE. Montero has defended that “there is a type of state regulation that should prevail throughout the country”, although collective agreements may later “improve the basic data.”
Asked if the Government will raise the quota of the self-employed due to the increase in the SMI, the Secretary of State for Social Security, Israel Arroyo, explained that “there is no automaticity” that transfers the increase in the minimum wage to the quota of workers on their own.
In any case, Arroyo has indicated that decisions based on the contribution of the self-employed and other regimes is linked to an increase in the regulatory base and, therefore, in benefits. “We must remove the idea that the Social Security contribution is a tax. In some cases we want to move from some sectors with bad intentions,” he pointed out.
Meeting on the extension of the ERTE “in a few days”
Regarding the negotiation to expand the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE), the Government has transferred that they still do not have a stipulated date before September 30, when the extension ends, to agree with the social agents a new extension of this mechanism. The number of workers at ERTE stood at 227,190 as of August 31. Since May 2020, when 3.6 million workers were in ERTE, more than 92% have already left it.
“We do not have a date yet but we will do it in a few days,” he pointed out after noting that the characteristics on which this new extension will be based will be entrusted to the negotiating table with employers and unions and will be addressed as long as they continue to be tools.