The salary agreement is getting further away. If the talks have been blocked for months between employers and unions, this morning the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, has distanced them even further by ruling out a homogeneous general rise, and prioritizing that it be agreed through agreement-by-agreement negotiations, without the general framework provided by the Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC).
“The unions may be interested in this, but it is sinking the economy and the companies themselves,” Garamendi told the SER chain, insisting that there cannot be a homogeneous standard for all sectors, that there are very different situations, such as It can be the hotel or small business. The president of the employers' association has insisted that "the AENC is a recommendation and has not always been approved", thereby transferring the weight of the negotiation exclusively to the agreements of the sectors and companies that are being negotiated. In this sense, he has recognized that the signing of these agreements is progressing slowly, as befits times of crisis.
What Garamendi wanted to highlight is that it is convenient to negotiate salaries sector by sector and company by company because “an energy company is not the same as a hairdresser or a bar”. In this sense, he has insisted that inflation affects everyone, also small businesses that have to pay electricity bills, and this in a country where 98% of the business fabric are SMEs, and they have less than 10 workers.
Although Garamendi has stressed that he has a good personal relationship with the leaders of the unions and with the second vice president and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, he has criticized her for the accusations that the minister has been launching against the CEOE since September. “She is repeating over and over again that we have gotten up from the table when she does not sit down and she does not have to be, because she is tripartite. When she comes in to assess or say what needs to be done at that table, she is meddling in something that she does not belong to, ”Garamendi has stated in the verbal duel that she has had with Yolanda Díaz in recent weeks.
A Garamendi who has ruled out that the blockade in the salary negotiation has anything to do with the elections for the presidency of the CEOE on November 23. In these elections, he appears as the great favorite, since he has numerous supports, although with the question of whether he will be the only candidate. Gerardo Pérez, president of Faconauto has pointed out that he could present himself, although at the moment he has not taken the step. This Monday, Garamendi said that he is convinced that he will be re-elected, and that he has the explicit support of all the territorial associations except one (it is Catalonia), and of the main sectoral ones. He also said that anyone can apply but that it must be avoided that it "becomes a circus."
In any case, despite his denial, many think that any agreement will have to wait for the CEOE elections. That in the final stretch of these elections, and with other potential candidates to challenge him for the presidency, Garamendi will be very careful not to take a step that could put him in difficulties. It is also true that, as things stand now, the positions are so divergent that it is very difficult to think of a consensus. Even more after his statements this morning.