The Palacio de la Moncloa once again dressed in the best clothes to receive the social agents. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, met this Monday with the CEOE and Cepyme employers and the CC OO and UGT unions, to create the Social Dialogue Table for Recovery, Transformation and Resilience. It was more the pomp than the content, since all the parties admitted that the issues had been dealt with very above and others as thorny as the labor reform or the pension reform had not been touched.
The Government conveyed to the social agents its intention to promote public-private collaboration in the use of European funds and, to this end, announced that it will create a new figure, which will be called ‘Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation, and will take measures to eliminate obstacles and streamline administrative procedures, one of the main demands of employers. It will be through a Royal Decree-Law that incorporates measures to eliminate bottlenecks, reduce unnecessary procedures, controls and reports, and shorten administrative deadlines.
Under the new figure, projects of a strategic nature will be included, with a significant potential to drag out the rest of the economy and that require collaboration between administrations, companies and research centers to ensure that operations in our country scale up.
The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, showed the collaboration of the businessmen and presented to the Executive a series of initiatives to change to some extent “how we can be more effective in this implementation of the funds.” He advocated yes for implementing changes in the bureaucracy, with modifications in the Public Sector Contracts Law and the General Subsidies Law, to eliminate the ‘bottlenecks’ and bureaucratic obstacles that exist in the current legislation on public contracts and grants.
For his part, the president of Cepyme, Gerardo Cuerva, stressed that the “most important” thing is that European funds are executed, a total of 140,000 million euros that Spain will receive in the next six years. And for that – he specified – “the opinion of private companies must be taken into account” and that they reach “the entire Spanish productive fabric”, including small and medium-sized companies.
The unions also valued the meeting very positively, which lasted two hours, and stressed that the arrival and use of these funds “are not linked to the position of not moving reforms” such as labor or pensions, and that this is what They transferred the Government although they acknowledged that this point has not been part of the debate this Monday. “It is a discussion that will have to be addressed in social dialogue tables in the coming days,” said the leader of CC OO, Unai Sordo.
His UGT counterpart, Pepe Álvarez, trusted that “in the next few days we can hold a working meeting where we can learn about the plans and positions.”
Multiple deals and one failure
The value that Moncloa gives to social dialogue is such that this meeting was also attended by eight ministers: the third vice president and minister of Economic Affairs and Digitization, Nadia Calviño; the fourth vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera; the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero; the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos; the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Isabel Celaá; the Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz; the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto; the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas; and the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, José Luis Escrivá.
In these almost ten months of legislature, the Government of Pedro Sánchez can boast of having already reached several important agreements with social agents, such as the increase in the Minimum Interprofessional Salary for 2020, and already, in the midst of a pandemic, that of promoting ERTE and its successive extensions and the regulation of teleworking. However, it already has a first failure in the social dialogue, since the CEOE refused to sign an agreement in mid-October with the new regulations that the Executive launched to promote gender equality in companies.
Currently, they are negotiating important issues such as the modernization of active employment policies and the implementation of what is known as the ‘Riders’ Law. In addition, they have yet to agree on the SMI for 2021, the rise in social contributions or the new contribution system for the self-employed according to their real income, as well as two far-reaching reforms: the pension reform and the labor ‘counter-reform’.