Unions and employers have reached an agreement that urges companies to raise wages by 4% in 2023, 3% in 2024 and 3% in 2025, with the indication that these increases grow an additional 1% if inflation exceeds—applicable to the following year, not retroactively. This is the most important measure included in the new Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC), which was approved this morning by the governing bodies of CEOE-Cepyme and UGT —CC OO will do so on Tuesday—. But there are many other policies contained in the text, to which EL PAÍS has had access. There are 32 pages with recommendations to the participants in the collective bargaining regarding artificial intelligence (AI), teleworking or flexible hours. These are some of the most important.
Artificial intelligence. The representatives of employers and workers call for containment regarding artificial intelligence. “The deployment of AI systems in companies must follow the principle of human control regarding AI and be safe and transparent,” indicates the text of the AENC, which urges companies to provide committees with “transparent and understandable information on the processes that are based [en la IA] in human resources procedures and will guarantee that there is no prejudice or discrimination”. The agreement proposes that this position also apply to public administrations.
Working time. Unions and employers consider it “essential” to adopt “flexible formulas for organizing working time”, as long as “the production process and the service provided” allow it. More specifically, with this objective, the agreement is committed to giving preference to fixing the working day in annual calculation; the “rationalization” of the schedule —”taking into account the specificities of each sector”— to “favor conciliation”; and flexibility in entry and exit times, again, when “the production process” allows it.
Teleworking and digital disconnection. The text asks companies and committees to identify jobs and functions that can be remotely worked; a minimum face-to-face day; a maximum duration of teleworking and that there is a reference percentage; mechanisms for the company to pay expenses related to its performance; and guarantee the collective rights of those who work remotely.
This section also deals with the guarantee of digital disconnection, which it develops in a later paragraph: “If any type of call or communication occurs outside of working hours, workers will not be obliged to respond, nor will hierarchical superiors be able to require answers outside of it, except in exceptional circumstances of force majeure. In addition, it indicates that “companies will guarantee that workers who make use of this right will not be affected by any differential treatment or sanction.”
Wages. Beyond the minimum annual increases (4% in 2023, 3% in 2024 and 3% in 2025, with an additional 1% each year depending on inflation), the agreement specifies that it can go further depending on the sector: “The negotiators must take into account the specific circumstances of their field to set the salary conditions, in such a way that the application of the previous guidelines can be adapted in each sector or company, with very unequal situations of growth, results or incidence of the increase in wages. SMI, with the objective of maintaining and creating employment”. The possible additional increase of 1% does not apply retroactively: “After 2023, if the interannual CPI for December 2023 were higher than 4%, a maximum additional increase of 1% will be applied, with effect from January 1, 2024” .
In addition, the agreement includes one of the claims that employers have repeated the most with each increase in the minimum wage: urging the Government to modify the rule on price reviews in public contracts. Thus, companies that pay the lowest possible salary could pass on the hypothetical increase in contracts with the Administration.
Security and health. The AENC recommends “promoting attention to aging and its implications in the development of work activity”; “advance in risk assessment of remote jobs”; and also “in the preventive management of psychosocial risks, promoting work stress prevention programs”.
Discontinuous fixed. The agreement, signed by unions and employers, recognizes that the labor reform “provides good results.” To continue in the same direction, he asks to delve into “stability in employment” and the use of the contractual modalities included in the reform. Among them, the appeal that was agreed upon regarding discontinuous permanent workers stands out: “We recommend developing through collective agreements all the virtuality of this contract, regulating those aspects that allow a better adaptation to the needs of workers, of the sectors and of the companies, including the authorization so that the ETTs can carry out fixed-discontinuous contracts for the coverage of temporary positions of the user company”.
Partial and flexible retirement. “Partial retirement and the relief contract must continue to be an adequate instrument for maintaining employment and rejuvenating the workforce”, indicates the text, which invites the promotion of “gradual and flexible retirement formulas to facilitate the transition from life active retirement from work. This does not coincide with the plan of the Ministry of Social Security, which expects around half of the workers to delay their retirement.
Equality. The agreement urges companies to “establish measures that favor the hiring of women, especially in sectors, companies and occupations where they are underrepresented”. In addition, it requires “regulating criteria for promotions and promotions, so that they do not lead to indirect discrimination, based on objective elements of qualification and capacity” and “internal flexibility measures that facilitate co-responsible conciliation”. The agreement also advises “developing the terms of the exercise of the right to request the adaptation of the working day”.
Low. Employers and unions express “concern” about the indicators of temporary disability derived from common contingencies. “In this sense, we want to establish lines of action that improve the health of working people.” Among these measures, they mention establishing joint procedures and areas for the analysis of temporary disability due to common contingencies; set lines of action that consequently reduce the number of processes and their duration; and urge the Administration to develop agreements with Mutual Societies, “aimed at carrying out diagnostic tests and therapeutic and rehabilitative treatments in IT processes due to common contingencies of traumatological origin”.
Training. Unions and employers insist on “continuous training” and on the “need” to “facilitate the requalification” of workers that “allows them to move from sectors with a surplus of personnel to those with difficulties finding people with the required professional profile.” To correct this problem, the parties are committed to promoting the conversion of training contracts into indefinite ones or that the contract to obtain the professional practice be remunerated.
The diagnosis of the lack of labor in some sectors has been different among the interlocutors of the social dialogue: the unions believe that the fundamental problem is low wages in sectors such as the hospitality industry and that the lack of professionals is limited to very specific sectors. ; while employers say that this problem is more general than it seems. Unemployment is 13% and Spain is at the bottom of Europe in unfilled vacancies.
The agreement addresses this issue in other sections. One of them is the ecological transition, given the new occupations linked to this process. “It is essential to identify new qualification needs and improvement of skills, redesign of jobs, organization of transitions between jobs or improvements in the organization of work.” To complete this objective, the agreement considers it a “priority” to promote “training and information lines”.
Other keys to the agreement. The signatories agree to meet three months before the end of the new AENC to reach a new agreement, that is, in September 2024. The constitution of a monitoring commission is also established.
UGT and CEOE approve the fifth AENC
UGT has ratified this Monday the agreement with the other big union, CC OO, and CEOE-Cepyme, to recommend a minimum wage increase. “This framework agreement is a starting point that will allow a more equitable distribution of wealth, in which all workers in our country must participate,” the union said in a statement. “In an agreement of these characteristics, the social partners are up to the task of what our country requires, giving stability to labor relations in Spain in times of uncertainty and guaranteeing social peace through a better distribution of wealth,” he adds. the organization led by Pepe Álvarez.
The employers, in a brief statement, have also expressed their acceptance of the agreement: “During the extraordinary meeting of the governing bodies on Monday, May 8, CEOE and CEPYME have unanimously approved the draft agreement.” CC OO will give its approval this Tuesday.
The unions have spent months focusing their action on denouncing the loss of purchasing power of workers. 2022 ended with an average inflation rate of 8.4%, while wages collected in agreements grew by around 3%. In addition, the last interannual rate of the CPI (in April) was 4.1%, while salaries rose on average in the first three months of the year, one percentage point less. The OECD calculates that salaries in Spain lost 5.3% of real value last year, the ninth highest percentage among the 38 countries of this organization.
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