Employers are rising up against Labor and demanding “rectification” of the agreement to give more power to the Labor Inspectorate in the monitoring of collective redundancies (ERE), with a new prior check of their causes. Employers have called the pact a ‘betrayal’ of the labor reform agreement and dismiss the department as a ‘reliable interlocutor’, although trade sources acknowledge that ‘the dialogue is not completely broken’ with the department by Yolanda Diaz. The measure has now been agreed by the government with EH Bildu as part of the Jobs Act parliamentary process, despite being announced more than a year ago by Labour.
“Spanish businessmen consider that the transactional amendment approved by the Ministry of Labor to restore the control of causes in collective dismissals (ERES) is a betrayal of the agreement reached in the labor reform”, underline the two main employers, CEOE and Cepyme in a joint statement.
Professional organizations maintain that “this issue has been discussed in the context of the work of labor reform and discarded by mutual agreement for the sake of consensus”.
Parties such as EH Bildu and ERC demanded that the labor reform recover the prior administrative authorization for collective dismissals, which Mariano Rajoy abolished in the 2012 reform, but this issue was not included in the package of changes. The reform focused on other issues, such as the reduction of temporary work and the resumption of the ultraactivity of collective agreements, among others.
A change announced a year ago
Now, within the framework of the parliamentary negotiation of the law on employment in Congress, the government has agreed with EH Bildu on an amendment which recognizes a new type of administrative control in the hands of the inspection of the Labor, which had already announced a year ago the Ministry of Labor as part of the Public Body’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2023.
Instead of an authorization from the labor authority, as there was before, it will be the labor inspectorate that will analyze whether the causes alleged by the companies to apply the files of collective redundancies are met.
“The action of the ministry through the amendment of EH Bildu supposes a breach of the good faith of negotiation, essential in any process of negotiation, which obliges the parties to respect and defend the agreements concluded, action which invalidates the ministry of Work as a reliable interlocutor”, consider CEOE and Cepyme.
The employers also appreciate that this modification “aims to intervene in the decisions of companies”, for which they consider it “contrary to the Constitution and the right to free enterprise”, as well as “it contravenes European regulations , which does not allow a regulation which deprives the employer of the power of decision”.
According to sources in the agreement between EH Bildu and Trabajo, the agreed modification does not mean that the Inspectorate can veto the ERE, but that its function is limited to preparing a mandatory report indicating whether the causes of application of the collective redundancy are met. If they were not respected, it would rule on it in a report and this assessment would be used by workers and unions to challenge the dismissal in court.
They ask for a “correction”
For this reason, the employers point out that “waiting for a rectification, Spanish businessmen refuse dialogue with the Ministry of Labour, which they consider misleading and contrary to good faith”.
Asked about this refusal of dialogue, the sources of the CEOE specify that the businessmen “do not break” the relationship or the dialogue with the ministry of Yolanda Díaz, a decision that “the board of directors should take”. “These issues, given their urgency, will be dealt with internally at the CEOE board meeting on December 21,” the statement said at the end.
Currently, several relevant negotiations are underway with the Ministry of Yolanda Díaz, such as the increase in the minimum wage, the law on employment incentives, the law on training and the statute of scholarships, between others.