05 jul 2018
4th Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining

THE BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS CEOE AND CEPYME AND UNIONS UGT AND CCOO SIGN THE FOURTH AGREEMENT FOR EMPLOYMENT AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Juan Rosell: “Let’s be brave because a lot of things need to change”.

The presidents of the business organizations CEOE and CEPYME, Juan Rosell and Antonio Garamendi, respectively, and the general secretaries of unions UGT, Pepe Álvarez, and CCOO, Unai Sordo, today signed the Fourth Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC, for its Spanish acronym) for 2018, 2019 and 2020, at the headquarters of the Economic and Social Council (CES), before the current Labour Minister, Magdalena Valerio, and the former Labour Minister, Fátima Báñez, as well as other representatives from the political, business and union worlds. 

Fourth Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining 2018-2019-2020
Fourth Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining 2018-2019-2020

The president of CEOE, Juan Rosell, said during his speech that it was time to be “brave” and “take risks because a lot of things need to change", in reference to the reforms still pending and the Government’s negotiation.  Salary increases “are good for society, but state-of-the-art and successful companies are needed to achieve this”, said the head of the business confederation.

"We need as many companies as possible to create employment", he said. “Companies are more efficient than any other entity because they are able to give more with less", he added. Juan Rosell asked for a new “sustainable” legality. He reminded the team of officials from both organizations, the new minister, Magdalena Valerio, and the former minister Fátima Báñez to "Be brave, and let’s try to do it through the agreement route".

Meanwhile, the president of CEPYME, Antonio Garamendi, stressed that "this is an agreement of the normal people, those who go to work every day". “For those representing the entrepreneurs, some parts of the agreement are hard", he acknowledged, underlining that he represented small and medium-sized companies. “The underground economy is the real problem in Spain; we urge the public powers to fight it", he requested during his speech. He also warned against “unwanted absenteeism”.

The secretary general of union CCOO, Unai Sordo, said that the collective bargaining agreement "reaffirms the role of social agents". According to Sordo, social agents "must have the capacity to guide labour and salary policies". In his opinion, an agreement for employment and collective bargaining means “conferring value to the role that unions and business organizations should have in a democratic society".

He said that with the agreement starts a recovery for salaries in Spain, since it includes “very relevant” measures to help the groups that have suffered the most as a consequence of the crisis. "It is a good distribution measure", he stressed. "I think this agreement aims to enable dialogue with the political powers and the institutions, identifying a series of fields that call for tripartite negotiation", he said.

“The labour system in Spain has clear room for improvement and I believe it is intelligent for the social agents to call for dialogue” he commented. He offered some figures: 47.3% of the workers in Spain have a permanent, full-time contract. This means that more than half of the workers are employed part-time or under a temporary contract. 

The secretary general of union UGT, Pepe Álvarez, pointed out that the agreement comes after a long period without an agreement, is the result of a difficult negotiation and it clearly lays out the solutions to how labour issues should develop in the next three years in Spain. "I want to highlight the importance of recuperating social dialogue in our country", said Álvarez. 

UGT´s leader said to be satisfied with the agreement, because it represents a step towards recuperating the wealth our country is generating.  He underlined that the minimum salary will be set at €1,000 and that the ones that will profit the most are the women, because they are the ones bearing the worst conditions.

"The regions where salaries are the lowest are the ones with the lowest per capita income levels, so we are contributing towards balancing the regions", he said. "I think this agreement opens the door to what tripartite dialogue needs to be", he said. We aim to have a socially cohesive country.