Díaz and Calviño outline a new fight for the rise in the minimum wage that the Labor party wants to bring closer to inflation

The government wants to raise the minimum wage by 2023 before the end of December. But, for that, he must first reach an agreement between his two wings: that led by the second vice-president and minister of Labour, Yolanda Diazand that headed by the first vice-president and head of the economy, Nadia Calvino. Unlike previous years, on this occasion Calviño and Díaz agree on the need to increase the minimum wage, but the discussion that will take place in the coming weeks will focus on the amount of this increase: Labor aspires that the The CPI is hovering around the CPI (which the Bank of Spain expects will end the year at around 8.7%), but the economy wants to lower that number.

Formal talks have not yet started, since the executive is waiting for the Labor Ministry’s expert committee – in which economy and finance are also represented – to complete the work that Díaz commissioned in September. Generally speaking, this team should update the minimum wage increase trajectory it proposed in 2021, since the increase in inflation and also the increase in average wages above expectations has made them obsolete.

The stated objective of the government is to end the legislature with the minimum wage, at least, equivalent to 60% of the average wage, and the key to the new expert report will be to set a figure to achieve this objective. What seems clear is that the committee of experts will go beyond the initial range it noted last year, when it proposed that the minimum wage should be a maximum of 1,049 euros per month in 14 installments. And it is so because The average salary in Spain increased in 2020 – the last year for which there is official data – by 3.15%while Labor specialists based their first recommendations on a scenario in which the most optimistic assumption was a rise of 1.8%.

With these figures, and if only the average wage for 2020 collected by the INE was taken as a reference -which the experts do not do, who use more sources-, the increase in the minimum wage should be 78 euros for the index to reach 1,078 euros in 14 installments, since this is the amount to which 60% of the average salary amounts. But it won’t be the only scale: Ministry of Labor sources confirm that Díaz wants to take inflation into account so that the rise in the minimum wage compensates – at least in part – for the rise in prices of recent months.

And it is that the figure proposed by the committee of experts will only be a recommendation which will lay the foundations for the final decision, since this will ultimately be taken by the government, although before that an attempt was made to reach an agreement with employers and trade unions. CCOO and UGT have publicly chosen to raise the minimum wage to 1,100 euros, which would mean a 10% increase all at once. The CEOE, for its part, has not concluded the pact for the moment, even if its president, Antonio Garamendi, declared a few days ago that he did not agree that the CPI be “applied ” and slipped that “there is another part of the government that can talk about more moderate increases”.

Official silence of Labor and the Economy

The situation is as Garamendi has depicted it. Although officially everyone is silent for now, sources close to Díaz confirm that she is in favor of increase as close as possible to the CPI, which according to the latest forecasts of the Bank of Spain will close 2022 at around 8.7%. An increase of this caliber applied to the minimum wage would mean an increase of around 87 euros per month, and Calviño wants to limit it to a lower figure. The Economy, however, refuses to comment publicly until the experts’ report is closed, and Labor does the same, although the first dispute has already taken place, since the figure proposed by the commission could be accepted at the unanimity – which would imply a first agreement between Díaz and Calviño – or without it.

The Second Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz during a political act by Sumar, in Sabadell

What seems clear, however, is that the dispute between the two vice-presidents to determine the amount of the increase in the minimum wage will not have as much resonance with the public as in recent years. The shock that took place in 2021 was particularly bitter, when Calviño opposed the rise early on so as not to torpedo the economic recovery, he said, and managed to delay it until September. and limit it to 15 euros. On the contrary, this year the economic vice-president not only did not oppose an increase in the minimum wage, but he was expressly “in favor” of it in November.

However, in these same statements, Calviño also drew attention to the fact that the minimum wage has increased “by about 35%” since the arrival in government of Pedro Sánchez. And he expressly pointed out that the government’s commitment is to place it at 60% of the average Spanish salary by 2023, but did not mention at any time the link of this increase with the CPIas Díaz has done on numerous occasions, relying on Article 27 of the Workers’ Statute, which stipulates that the minimum wage will be established annually taking into account “the consumer price index”, ” national average productivity achieved”, “increased labor force participation in national income” and “general economic situation”.


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