• Employment UGT asks that the Minimum Wage be raised to 1,200 euros and the working day be capped at 7 hours a day

CCOO considers that there is room to raise the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI) again in 2024 and has pointed this Monday, without putting a figure, to an increase that would be around 90 euros, which would go from the 1,080 euros in fourteen payments that are currently charged to about 1,170 euros next year.

"Inflation will end this year at a year-on-year average of between 3.5% and 3.7%, so this increase is necessary to maintain purchasing power. In addition, according to data from the INE's Quarterly Labour Cost Survey, the average salary has risen by 4.8%, so if the objective is for the SMI to continue to be equivalent to 60% of the average salary in Spain, those are the percentages that should be applied," explained Luis Zarapuz, coordinator of the Economic Cabinet of the CCOO Trade Union Confederation. at a round table organized by the General Council of Economists.

According to these calculations, the minimum wage should rise to around 1,120 euros so that the 10% of salaried workers who receive it do not lose purchasing power in the face of rising prices and, in addition, if the government wants to maintain the commitment that it is equivalent to 60% of the average salary in Spain, then it should be increased by another 5%. up to around 1,170 euros.

The CCOO economist did not want to give a figure, as he does not belong to the union's negotiating team, nor did he want to confirm whether the organisation has already contacted the acting Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, to address the matter, although he did point out that he is not aware of any approaches and confirmed that Unai Sordo has not requested any material from the economic department.

He has been more cautious than UGT, which at the beginning of the year denounced that the minimum wage is currently not at 60% of the average salary and argued that it should rise to 1,200 euros to comply with that precept. "We don't have the 2022 net wage data yet. Last year, the union's Committee of Experts put 60% of the average salary at €1,080 net. We believe that this forecast is true, but there is still no closed data that would allow us to be sure," he said.

During the conference, entitled 'The SMI, where is the limit?', the experts addressed different proposals such as that of shielding by law the increase in the SMI so that it systematically represents 60% of the average salary, in a similar way to the automatic increase in pensions. However, some of the participants, such as Marcel Jansen, Director of Research in the Labor Area of Fedea, has been against the initiative, as he believes that it will be necessary to be able to take into account the economic cycle when deciding whether or not to raise the minimum wage and how much, and that the country can choose to pause the increases in an environment of uncertainty or recession.

In addition, the Fedea researcher has once again put on the table the debate on a SMI differentiated by age and geographical area, as exists in other countries, since a young recent graduate who still lives with his parents does not need the same protection as an adult, nor does a person who earns 1,080 euros in Soria as another who earns the same in Madrid. where it would not be sufficiently protected, he argues.

"Spain is an exception in Europe because we have an equal minimum wage for everyone, so if we wanted the minimum wage not to distort the labour market for young people, we would have to put it at an irrelevant level. It's healthy to open that debate, but based on data and with the best experts (...) The minimum wage should be territorialized or collective bargaining should play a more active role in signing agreements in those regions where the minimum wage falls short. There is talk of 60% of the average salary but we ignore the fact that it is 75% of the average salary in Andalusia and Murcia and much less in Catalonia or Madrid and in those regions there are people who are not protected by an agreement and their only protection is the SMI," he said.

The expert would be in favour of using the median salary as a reference instead of the average salary, and of stipulating different ranges depending on the age of the employee and depending on the geographical area. He also argues that the government, of whatever colour, should carry out studies on the real effects of the minimum wage on the labour market. Although he believes that according to the scientific literature the increase in recent years has not resulted in a generalized destruction of employment, he does believe that the Ministry should carry out a cost-benefit analysis and be transparent about both the positive and negative impacts.

  • CCOO
  • UGT
  • Yolanda Diaz
  • Minimum Wage
  • Articles Alejandra Olcese