The increase in the SMI to 965 euros leaves behind the increases agreed in most of the agreements signed this year and is increasingly close to being a reference for the negotiation of other salaries.
Yolanda Daz, Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, takes the floor in Congress.Juan Carlos HidalgoEFE
Updated on Saturday, 18 September 2021 – 01:53
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The increase in the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) agreed by the Ministry of Labor with the unions to be applied from the payment of the payrolls of this month of September exceeds the average of the salary increases that have been agreed between companies and representatives of the workers throughout the first eight months of the year. If the increase in the SMI to 965 euros in 14 payments represents an increase of 1.6%, the average of the collective bargaining has agreed lower increases. In fact, two out of every three negotiated agreements establish lower variations, between 0% and 1.5%.
After 2020 in which collective bargaining focused on the effects of Covid, drastically reducing the signing of agreements, unions and companies have progressively recovered the pace of work at the tables and have signed 2,349 agreements, according to data from the Ministry of Labor, affecting 542,227 companies and 5,561,998 workers.
For all of them, the agreed increase has been 1.5% on average. However, the agreed scale of increases reflects that in two out of every three companies the agreed wage increases have been lower. In fact, most of the agreements (596) negotiated by company and staff representatives register increases that range between 1% and 1.5%, while the second largest group (498) freezes them by setting 0.00% raises. The first of those reviewed will affect 1.8 million workers who have agreed to a rise of 1.17%, while the second will be made up of 64,290 companies that employ 825,272 people.
Total, 3.1 million workers (practically six out of 10) would therefore have seen wage freezes or increases of less than 1.6% that marks the SMI. On the other hand, around a million and a half have signed salary increases of between 1.5% and 2.5% with their companies. Only 104 agreements affecting 328,000 employees had agreed to increases of over 3.9%.
The explanation for this evolution of wage increases is due to the fact that the economic recovery has been gaining intensity as the months have passed and that, in general, the agreements take inflation at the end of the year as a reference. With the end of the restrictions, the energy crisis and a normality that has not arrived until practically the gates of summer, price forecasts have been overwhelmed, exceeding 3% in August and are beginning to gain weight at the negotiating tables. “With an inflation level higher than 3%, raising contract wages to only 1.5% (according to August data) would mean a reduction in real wages and purchasing power,” he explained. UGT this week.
Nevertheless, the economist and researcher associated with Fedea, Florentino Felgueroso, believes that until January 2022 the reality of prices will not begin to be reflected in the agreements. Felgueroso adds that, facing that moment, it must be considered that the increase in the SMI to 1,000 euros promised by the Government (+ 3.6%) is probably an initial reference for collective bargaining. Mark a path for the rest of salaries? “I think so, that the SMI will progressively take this role”, the economist advances.
It is in this context – a higher SMI that already affects the negotiation of the rest of salaries, especially the lower ones – that there has been an increase by the Government and unions outside the opinion of the employers. CEOE, already warned yesterday through the mouth of its president Antonio Garamendi that, in this way, the Government is putting collective bargaining at risk. The self-employed, for their part, advance, according to their president Lorenzo Love, a growth of the black economy.
But it is SMEs that have most regretted the rise agreed by the vice president Yolanda daz. “We defend increases as long as the economic scenario accompanies and does not have a more negative than positive impact. Companies in many sectors are still very weak,” they explain in Cepyme, chaired by Gerardo Cuerva. In the opinion of this employer’s association, an increase in an economy with a not yet consolidated recovery will have a detrimental impact on sectors that are particularly affected such as the hospitality industry and commerce, “which have destroyed several hundred thousand jobs and put tens of thousands more at risk ( both by ERTE still in force and outside of them), with special incidence in SMEs “.
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