Spain: Social partners gear up for the next tripartite agreement 2015–2017

Social partners appear to be going into the latest round of tripartite discussions with increased optimism.

Juan Rosell, President of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE), said improvements in the economic situation in the country meant any Agreement for Employment and Social Dialogue should include the prospect of salary increases.

Tripartite talks began on 4 July 2014 when the Minister of Employment, Fátima Báñez, meet with employers’ representatives and trade unions. Discussions were held with Ignacio Fernández Toxo, General Secretary of the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and Cándido Méndez, General Secretary of the General Workers’ Confederation (UGT) over the enhancement of social dialogue and the signing of a new salary agreement. Also at the talks were Rosell and Jesús Terciado, President of the Spanish Confederation of SMEs (CEPYME) from the employers’ side.

Although no specific agreement was reached, the meeting implied advancements towards future pacts among social partners.

Two weeks later, on 29 July 2014, the Spanish government signed an agreement with social partners on a collection of proposals to be discussed to promote economic growth and employment. The aim of the meeting, attended by the President of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, was an agreement which presented several proposals and key issues to be discussed at tripartite level to improve the situation of the Spanish economy and the labour market. The discussions would be between representatives from the public authorities, trade unions and employers’ representatives.

In September 2014, Toni Ferrer from UGT said the Agreement for Employment and Social Dialogue 2012–2014 had not yet been renegotiated. The deadline of the agreement was 31 December 2014 and social partners needed to agree on a new agreement for 2015.

He also said the 2012–2014 agreement could not just be extended with the same terms and conditions, because the economic cycle had changed since it was signed. He said it was necessary to modify and adapt the agreement to the new economic situation. The new agreement was expected to cover the 2015–2017 period.

Meanwhile, on 18 September 2014, Juan Rosell said the economic context had progressed over the last couple of years and agreed on the need for a new Agreement for Employment and Social Dialogue to include a sectorial perspective on salaries.

He said that, while the 2012–2014 agreement saw the social partners settle for wage moderation, for the next deal it was expected that some salary increases would be approved for some specific economic sectors that were showing signs of economic recovery.

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