Wednesday, December 7

The unions deny a “change of cycle” after the Andalusian elections but ask the Government to “take note”

CCOO and UGT have denied this Tuesday that the victory of the PP in the Andalusian elections last Sunday have meant a “change of cycle” in Spanish politics that affects the stability of the central government. Although, they have asked the Executive to “take note” of the message that the current situation is not what it was in January, when the economic outlook was more favorable. The general secretaries of both organizations, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez, have trusted that the Government will comply with the remainder of the legislature. “In a year and a half there is time for three or four changes of mood”, Sordo has defended.

The CCOO leader has assured that, if there had been a “change of cycle”, it would have been in the field of the Spanish right. Sordo has defended that what has occurred is a change in the balance of forces within this ideological field between the PP and Vox. “What is really being disputed is a reconfiguration of the right”, he added, framing the results of Sunday’s elections as an “Andalusian debate”.

Sordo has reminded the Government that it must “take note” of the results and that “inflation has carried governments ahead”. Whether or not this happens to the coalition Executive, Sordo theorized, will depend on the decisions made to alleviate the effects of this price increase. Thus, he has aimed to wait to know the details of the measures that are approved in the Council of Ministers convened for this Saturday. “Some of the proposals that are on the table have also been raised by our organizations,” he defended.

One of the issues that has been discussed has been the surcharge of corporate tax for energy companies. Both leaders have agreed that taxation should be increased on the benefits obtained by the “usury” of the method of calculating electricity costs, as Pepe Álvarez has expressed. The leader of the UGT has defended that this “surplus” must be “returned to the citizens” and that this method is based on taxes. Without giving full support to the proposal for a 10-point rise in corporate tax, Álvarez has defended that it is going to fall “short”. “They are not legitimate benefits, the electricity companies are stealing from citizens,” he has pointed out.

Sordo has shown a tendency to go beyond this measure with a tax reform. The CCOO leader understands that if there is no wage increase with the increase in company profits caused by the transfer of costs to the final price, it will be necessary to increase their taxation. For this, he has claimed to recover the idea already implemented of the minimum tax of 15%, although instead of on the taxable base, on the accounting profit. This would mean, Sordo has estimated, between 5,000 and 7,000 million of increased collection that could go to help vulnerable families.

The CCOO leader has been critical of the fuel bonus. He has recognized that he is due to an “urgency” situation but that “let us not forget that the promotion of certain forms of mobility is not the best of the future ideas that we must take as a country”. “Income transfers can be made, the social bonus can be improved, collective transport can be favored. That way, aid would have to be used ”, he defended.

Distant positions with the bosses

CCOO and UGT have insisted on the need to recover the negotiation with the CEOE. Sordo and Álvarez participated this Tuesday in the UIMP summer courses organized by the Association of Economic Information Journalists, where the employer’s leader, Antonio Garamendi, attended yesterday. The positions between the approaches of one and the other have shown the distance of a possible agreement in the face of a recommended salary revaluation for the negotiation of the agreements.

In any case, the unions have ruled out that the Government should intervene to intercede. “It would be unproductive”, Pepe Álvarez defended during his intervention. “At this time, for salary issues, we do not need a referee,” he insisted despite the lack of agreement.

Álvarez has urged the CEOE to sit down at the negotiating table again in order to reach an agreement on salary matters. “Either there is an agreement with the CEOE or there is conflict,” the UGT leader once again pointed out. In recent weeks, the unions have once again increased pressure on employers to try to agree on a general framework for salary increases in the agreements that are being negotiated.

This Monday, Garamendi ruled out an agreement as long as the salary review proposal is maintained. Sordo, however, understands that this measure does not have to cause a new increase in inflation due to the so-called “second round” effects. Specifically, Sordo raises the latest proposal made by the unions: a rise of 3.5% this year, 2.5% in 2023 and 2% in 2022 and with a salary review at the beginning of the year. In this way, he points out, the cost would not affect salaries this year but rather next year.



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