The SMI will rise again if Pedro Sánchez returns to form Government. The acting president pledged yesterday to apply a new raise to the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) and take it up to 60% of the average salary at the end of a term that is not yet known if it can be completed for a full period of four years.
Taking as reference the average salary, that 60% would correspond to an amount close to 1,200 euros , which is the main proposal of Podemos, its priority partner in the formation of Government and aspiring to occupy the Work portfolio. The agreement would be the first measure of the new Government and would go through a gradual increase that would begin in 2020 with an increase of 11% , up to 1,000 euros.
Sanchez however avoided committing to avoid specifying when and how much it will go up . The SMI is the prerogative of the Government and is normally addressed by decree at the end of the year after consultation with employers and unions. Last year, however, Sanchez omitted this consultation and applied unilaterally and according to Podemos a rise of 22.3%, the highest ever applied. The measure irritated businessmen and unions alike, who had agreed on a different increase calendar and saw their role as social agents questioned.
Yesterday, with the PSOE negotiating a complex and controversial legislature agreement with Catalan independence, Sánchez's statement sounded more like an electoral promise than an imminent rise of the SMI. Unlike what happened last year, the president ruled out practically a rise before the end of the year. He conditioned the new rise to a prior consultation with the social agents and this condition for the rise of the SMI to the 1,000-euro barrier is what links the measure to which Sanchez is again president of the Government. Carrying out this procedure would force the opening of a social dialogue table that has not yet been convened and in which, today, trade unions and employers have as formal interlocutor Magdalena Valerio, acting Minister of Labor. With a government in full power, social agents could formally agree on a staggered rise that entrepreneurs want to negotiate without haste.
Yesterday, the CEOE pointed out that Sánchez's announcement is the first news they have about the government's plans since they don't have any notice. The employer did not go into the details, although it indicated that if this agreement is already made it would mean "skipping a fundamental channel" .
The SMI has dragged since last year a bitter controversy in line with the rise that Sanchez decreed after his first agreement with Podemos. The increase, after several years of stagnation, was 22.3%, the largest ever applied. Different organizations and institutions then warned of the negative effect that this rise would have on vulnerable professional groups such as domestic workers or farm workers. Not because of raising the legal minimum wage, but because doing so to that extent could harm employment.
Already at the end of the year and after a resounding confrontation with the Bank of Spain, the Government has indicated that the increase was a success as a measure of economic policy by producing a general increase in salaries and contributions to strengthen the Social Security fund. On the other hand, it has also admitted that at least 13,000 domestic workers have been able to enter the black market and that the payment of overtime among farm workers has been reduced as compensation for the rise.
The main unions have in this chapter the possibility of realizing the first point of the list of labor claims that they have prepared for the new Government.
UGT claimed yesterday that wages continue to rise , minimum salaries are established by agreement of 1,000 euros and the interprofessional minimum wage (SMI) continues to improve, all with the aim that workers gain purchasing power, consumption is relaunched and a guarantee is guaranteed. sustained economic growth in the face of slowing expectations.
For his part, the general secretary of CCOO, Unai Sordo, said that the PSOE and United We "would be seriously mistaken if they negotiated the rise of the SMI by unilateral political means." He also rejected ERC's request that "the rise of the SMI be greater in Catalonia due to the high standard of living in that region" by clarifying that "the SMI must be one in the entire State." Sordo sent a deep charge to ERC, remembering that those who have the possibility of increasing those salaries "are the Government and public administrations, promoting that those outsourced activities through public entities have higher salaries and are not cut".
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