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The employer is considering distancing itself from the entente between the Government and unions to extend the ERTE

There is still no agreement to extend the ERTEs derived from the Covid-19 crisis. Although they agree to extend them until May 31, the Government, employers and unions They could not sign a pact this Thursday either to extend the current document because of the employers’ insistence on softening the penalties for companies that lay off workers after having accepted an ERTE.

The positions after three meetings seem immovable, and therefore no more meetings are planned. The trade union organizations have decided to take the extension to their respective bodies of the agreement in its current terms -except for minor modifications-, and the employers, therefore, will have to decide next week if they support it despite not having achieved its objective.

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Union sources assure that the Government and the centrals agree that the extension of the agreement reached last September, which is in force until now, must be done without changing its basic aspects. AND neither the Ministry of Labor nor CCOO and UGT are considering giving up in view of the employer’s demand to lower the employment safeguard clause, as confirmed by Minister Yolanda Díaz herself in an interview last Tuesday, in which she promised to maintain the current protection scheme for workers.

This is practically the only issue that has prevented the social partners from reaching an agreement. As its president, Antonio Garamendi, has publicly confirmed, the CEOE –and also Cepyme– wants a company to be able to fire a worker after leaving an ERTE and only have to return the benefits received by this employee. This would represent an important change with respect to the current rule, since right now companies are prohibited from firing up to six months after leaving an ERTE – unless they are at risk of bankruptcy – under penalty of having to return all aid charged.

Sources familiar with the content of the conversations point out that the employer has also proposed a second option: reduce the number of months in which these obstacles are in force to make layoffs, which are currently six. The proposal, however, it has not set either, although small modifications have been agreed, such as adding several sectors to the group that can benefit from ERTE by force majeure to cover, according to the sources consulted, some 50,000 more workers.

Labor does not speak, but the unions criticize

Thus, the only thing that is certain is that the validity of the ERTE due to force majeure, as well as the new rates that were agreed in September – the “impediment” and “limitations” files -, will run until May 31, although it is possible that for the first time this decision will not have the support of businessmen.

Labor has preferred not to comment pending the decision made by the employer, which for the moment is silent. On the contrary, the unions have criticized the position of the CEOE: “Once again the renewal of the ERTEs is unnecessarily delayed, then there will be complaints about insecurity that companies are generated by arriving at the last minute “, denounced the general secretary of CCOO, Unai Sordo.

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