The unprecedented battle in the electoral process to choose a new Pimec president



Antoni Cañete and Pere Barrios


© Llibert Teixidó
Antoni Cañete and Pere Barrios

The irruption of the independence entity ANC in the electoral process to choose a new president of the SME employer’s association Pimec has configured an unprecedented battle for the second organization of businessmen in Catalonia. The continuing candidacy of Antoni Cañete, current secretary general of the entity, competes with that led by Pere Barrios. While Cañete tries to mobilize companies and unions to exercise their right to vote next Tuesday the 23rd, Barrios relies on the structure of the ANC to repeat the experience of the Chamber of Commerce, where they rose to power.

The ANC supports a union and a business candidacy “

Antoni CañeteSecretary General of Pimec

Antoni Cañete (Barcelona 1963) has spent two weeks of heart attack looking for the vote of the maximum number of companies and unions to replace Josep González in the presidency next Tuesday.

Are you an entrepreneur?

I have had a family business and I have managed it. We had the neighborhood supermarket and I exploited it and ran it. And I have joined seven companies in a joint-stock company (Cofme) that I internationalized and competed with multinationals. I am also on various boards of directors.

Well, his rival accuses him of not being a businessman.

I am willing whenever Mr. Barrios wants to do a blood test to see if in the indicator that says what it is to be a businessman, he is more of a businessman than I am. This is not a question of getting it out on a test. It’s what you do, how you do and what you get. This is a sterile debate. I would like to know what is your curriculum of the things you have done for the representative and associative world because you have been vice president in the Chamber of Barcelona. What has it achieved or done?

During your tenure in the Chamber, an attempt was made to promote a law criticized by you, the Foment and the unions, considering that it was invading powers.

That is another of the great inconsistencies. How is it possible that the person who has wanted to destroy the condition and function of Pimec, now tries to occupy this responsibility in that institution that he wanted to laminate. It seems that since they have not done it by changing the law, they want to do it by occupying power in another way. What is your vision of social dialogue?

The ANC, in addition to promoting a candidacy in Pimec, also gives its support to the Intersindical union.

How is it possible that those who support a union and at the same time support a candidacy of employers are at a table. If they had to negotiate at a table, they would not be talking about business or union issues but about other types of interests. It is not a trivial subject. It is a sample of that intrusiveness that should not be allowed. That within the institutions they are the ones that solve problems without external interference. I am facing a volunteer candidacy for another candidacy that has the support of the ANC and people from political parties.

Is it a problem that the president of Pimec charges when historically it was not like that?

Leading organizations that are evolving to address problems require presence and capacity. The concept of remuneration is when you have a dedication and an implication in the entity. Either you have it or you are doing something else.

If the other candidacy wins, could they renegotiate the agreements with Foment?

They do not know what they are talking about when in some way they say that Foment should disappear and that Pimec should occupy 100% of the representation. What has happened in Catalonia in recent years has made Spain finally have an employer’s association comparable to Europe, which means that there must be a representation of large companies and another of SMEs. Once this homologation has been achieved, it allows dialogue and agreement, agreement and discrepancy. Thinking of a single representation is the result of other moments. This is what happened in the vertical union.

What are the first steps you will take if you win the election?

There are three big rapids. The first will be to try to validate the late payment sanctions regime in Congress. The other is that the representation achieved in Catalonia is at the state level. That SMEs have a real voice. As in Europe we have the vice-presidency of the SME employers’ association. That is why my slogan is business activism. The third is a call for territorial, cross-sectorial participation for European funds, digital transformation, innovation, energy, social issues or the second chance. That is why we have a transversal candidacy. Ours is not a candidacy for what you think but for what you are.

We will discuss representativeness with Foment “

Pere BarriosPresident of Recam Làser

Pere Barrios (Caldes de Montbui, 1961) founded the Recam Làser group 30 years ago after leaving Banco Popular and capitalizing on the unemployment benefit. Today it has 350 employees, a turnover of 40 million, and is expanding. Vice-president of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, he now aspires to preside over Pimec with the support of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC).

Why do you think you are the best candidate to preside over Pimec?

We have always said that an entrepreneur with merits is the one who should preside over the entity, not an employee who has spent many years as general secretary. In addition, I represent the change that the entity needs after so many years with the same style of doing nothing, of not disturbing.

Do not disturb who?

To no one, not to the administrations, not to the unions … Their policy has always been very low-profile and overly complex with respect to other employers. That we have small companies as partners does not mean that we should be a small employer. I come to remove complexes, gain strength and be a valid interlocutor with all social agents. When Foment and Pimec unite they do have strength, when they oppose the law of the chambers immediately the law of Parliament jumps. But Pimec shouldn’t wait to see what the others say. Now it is a small, complex and old-fashioned employer.

If you win, would you keep Antoni Cañete as general secretary?

I would have seen it easier before. But not now, after discovering many things about the electoral procedure that began seven months ago, with the change of statutes, and the formation of its list with 27 associations, which can have up to 30 votes each. He comes out with a list with already 500 or 600 entry votes. You have had seven months to prepare. Me seven days

Cañete also claims to be an entrepreneur.

The best way to prove it would be by resigning a president’s salary.

They say that you endorsed the changes as a member of the board of directors?

Lie. I haven’t been on Pimec for a year and a half. I was practically expelled when I appeared as a candidate of Eines de País to the Chamber.

Is your candidacy political?

They accuse us of wanting to instrumentalize and politicize the entity and of being independentists. Yes, we want employers to be an instrument for companies. As for politicizing, the reality is that politics is embedded throughout society. And on the independence movement, first of all we are businessmen and partners. And secondly, we are independentists. No businessman has told me that it is an advantage to depend on Madrid. Unlike. The only ones who do not want independence are those who are civil servants, as is the case with the other candidate.

What role will the ANC play?

The ANC has helped us and it will disappear from Pimec after the elections, as it has done in the Chamber. The ANC promotes projects, in professional associations, at Barça … but then it retires.

He maintains that Pimec must be the first employer in Catalonia. Will you reopen the discussion with Foment on representativeness?

Inevitably. I will ask for the representativeness of all the SMEs in Catalonia. We will carry out a campaign to attract members and from there we will claim. In Catalonia there are 800 large companies. The rest, more than half a million, are SMEs. And let’s not confuse entrepreneurs with senior managers.

Will Pimec defend the law of Chambers?

Yes. Foment and Pimec opposed because they understood that they wanted to take away some of the representativeness that corresponds to the employers. That is uncertain, that they take a good look at the bill. Only more resources were raised for the cameras.

As vice president of the Chamber, how do you interpret the departure of large companies from the plenary session?

It is not a problem, but rather a stimulus to eliminate pay chairs, which we already wanted to eliminate. They represent 5% of the Chamber’s income. In any case, it is not a general movement.

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