CC.OO sets out objectives for social dialogue

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In October 2004, the CC.OO trade union confederation assessed the renewed tripartite social dialogue that has been under way under the new Socialist government since July, and set out a number of short-, medium- and long-term objectives.

In July 2004, a document entitled 'Competitiveness, stable employment and social cohesion. Declaration on social dialogue 2004' ('Competitividad, Empleo Estable y Cohesión Social. Declaración para el Diálogo Social 2004') was signed by the new Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, PSOE) government (ES0405202N) and the social partners (ES0408101F). This text laid down the agenda for future social dialogue among the parties. In October, after several months of the dialogue, the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CC.OO) made a positive evaluation of the process, though it has yet to resolve any high-profile issues.

In the dialogue, CC.OO has put forward a number of subjects for discussion, notably linked to the state budget - ie the national minimum wage (ES0406204N), the 'public minimum income indicator' (Indicador Público de Rentas Mínimas), pensions reform (ES0405205F), employment development programmes and vocational training. In the medium or long term, the subjects to be raised by CC.OO also include employment, social protection, health and safety at work and the environment. With regard to the more immediate future, however, CC.OO has made the following proposals.

  • Collective bargaining and compulsory retirement. CC.OO proposes that the capacity of collective bargaining to establish the retirement age from the age of 65 should be restored, that workers should be able to retire when they have made sufficient pension contributions, and that if it is feasible retirement should be linked to employment plans in companies (ie with job maintenance and/or creation and stability). The parties to the dialogue have already exchanged proposals with the aim of drawing up a draft bill on this subject in the near future, but differences have arisen. The Spanish Confederation of Employers' Organisations (Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales, CEOE) proposes the possibility of agreeing retirement at ages below 65 for reasons of 'company viability' (pre-retirement) and the government considers collective agreements to be equivalent to individual pacts in this area.
  • Supplementary pensions. The CC.OO's aim is to guarantee an absolute majority for workers' representatives on the monitoring committees of supplementary pension schemes agreed before 2002 that have not negotiated such a new composition of representation during the transition period (ending in December 2004), as laid down in the regulation on which they are based. In this context, an agreement has been reached with the Ministry of Economy to modify the Law regulating Pension Plans and Funds (Ley de regulación de Planes y Fondos de Pensiones), including an amendment to the Law on Financial Conglomerates (Ley de Conglomerados Financieros).
  • European Company Statute. With regard to transposition of the EU Directive (2001/86/EC) supplementing the Statute for a European Company with regard to the involvement of employees (EU0206202F), CC.OO wants to ensure trade union participation rights in the employee involvement arrangements of European Companies. CC.OO believes that the employers want a 'light' transposition of the Directive with little content, while the government wishes to start discussions on this subject;
  • Extension of collective agreements (TN0212102S). CC.OO wants to obtain better rules in this area in order to extend collective agreements to companies and sectors that are not covered. This is a subject that has been pending since 1999. A text was agreed with the employers but the previous conservative government failed to validate it. CC.OO hopes that the new government will do so.

From a wider viewpoint, CC.OO's objectives in the social dialogue are to:

  • progress towards an economic model that increases the productivity of work, creates more wealth, increases the quality of employment and sustains and extends the social protection system;
  • increase the volume of employment through investment in production involving research and development, information technology, education, and vocational training;
  • improve the quality of employment by reducing temporary employment (ES0409104F) and the industrial accident rate (ES0403211F), making progress in equal treatment in the labour market and equal opportunities for men and women, legalising immigrant workers and providing them with rights (ES0410203F), and fostering institutions such as the Labour Inspectorate (Inspección de Trabajo), the Public Employment Services (Servicios Públicos de Empleo), the Advisory Committee on Collective Agreements (Comisión Consultiva de Convenios Colectivos) and the Institute of Health and Safety at Work (Instituto de Salud y Seguridad en el Trabajo); and
  • improve the social protection systems by providing universal rights, improving benefits and guaranteeing the sufficiency of the public system with regard to pensions, the special social security systems for agricultural workers (Régimen Especial Agrario de la Seguridad Social, REASS) and home workers, unemployment protection, and rights related to care of dependants.

In the dialogue, CC.OO has been acting in unity with the General Workers’ Confederation (Unión General de Trabajadores, UGT). The aim is to make it known that the government and the employers should take the positions of the trade unions into account.

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