Inflation and its consequences are opening an ever deeper gap in the relations between workers and companies that may even get worse in the coming months. CCOO and UGT convened yesterday in Madrid 1,500 negotiators of collective agreements to instruct them to maintain a firm and increasingly tense position against employers to ensure that the templates see their wages rise according to the CPI. 8% in the next three years with review clauses at the end of each year.

The representatives of the workers are thus opposed to renewing any social agreement with the companies without a wage increase that would prevent wages from losing the slightest purchasing power. The possibility of agreeing on sacrifices by both parties was exhausted after the failure of the negotiations of the Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining last spring and the unanimous rejection of the income pact proposed by the Government.

In favor of the trade union strategy of growing tension is the fact that, far from being a temporary phenomenon, inflation is here to stay, which accentuates the loss of value of wages and the consequent discomfort of the workers. In May, prices grew by 8.7% and the forecast is that they will end 2022 with an increase of 7.15%. Until April, the average wage increases recognized in the agreements -the main indicator- were 2.4%.

Against, the unions have the fact that the agreements cover barely five million employees and are very atomized in terms of their nature, since they can be business, sectoral, provincial… Union organizations have difficulty coordinating a common strategy with the different rhythms of negotiation of each agreement.

In any case, and regardless of whether conflict may break out in any sector, the forecast is to call demonstrations in front of employers’ headquarters next July. The unions are aware that the pulse will last until the fall and surely beyond. The president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, already warned last Wednesday that the companies are not going to sign salary guarantee clauses because it would fuel inflation even more.

Unai Sordo, secretary general of the CCOO, yesterday described this statement as a sign of cynicism since the so-called second-round inflation when “businessmen are already causing it” by applying the costs to the final prices.

Sordo pointed out that if the employers do not agree to an agreement, they will pressure the Government to “take action on the matter” and “intercede” through taxes, that is, establishing “minimum rates in the Corporation tax to transfer a part of those business surpluses to the incomes of the people who have less».

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