Labor and unions agree on a 5% increase in the minimum wage to 1,134 euros

The Ministry of Labor has agreed with the UGT and CCOO unions to increase the interprofessional minimum wage (SMI) by 5%, 54 euros more per month, up to 1,134 euros gross in 14 payments.

As explained by the Secretary of State for Labor, Joaquín Pérez Rey, at the end of the meeting held this morning, the CEOE employers’ association has withdrawn from the agreement.

Retroactive from January 1, 2024

This increase, which applies retroactively from January 1, 2024, will affect around 2.5 million workers, mostly young people and women.

Since 2018, when it stood at 736 euros, the SMI has accumulated an increase of 54%.

In 2022, it surpassed the barrier of 1,000 euros and last year, in a context of high inflation, the increase was 8% to 1,080 euros.

“Raising the SMI is the best policy against inequality. We achieved, together with unions, a 5% increase. We improve the lives of working people, especially women and young people. Raising salaries does not destroy jobs, it makes us a better country,” the second vice president and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, highlighted on the social network X.

“The Government has made a great effort to reach an agreement with employers and unions (…) I thank the employers for their effort, in the end it was not possible,” said Pérez Rey in statements to the media.

The Secretary of State for Labor – who has celebrated the agreement with the unions – has indicated that these salary increases are also reflected in “much more fair and distributive” pensions and that the poverty gap is reduced by 25%.

Although he has valued their willingness to negotiate, Pérez Rey has said that “the employers have not shown themselves flexible to seek an alternative figure or waive any of their requirements.”

The pitfall of public contracts

The CEOE demanded special treatment for the agricultural sector, as well as – like the unions – that the SMI be indexed to public sector contracts.

Regarding the unions’ requests to modify the SMI law with the aim of clarifying the text to prevent companies from absorbing supplements and bonuses in the increase in the SMI, Pérez Rey has indicated that in the decree they will only update the amount.

“We cannot establish more alterations in that decree because the legislative process prevents us from doing so, without prejudice to the fact that from now on it will be necessary to improve the mechanisms of the SMI,” added Pérez Rey.

Garamendi reproaches the forms and lack of judgment

This same morning, the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, had reproached the Ministry of Labor for the forms and lack of criteria to apply the increase.

“If you don’t want a cup, a cup and a half,” said the leader of the employers’ association, who has defended that companies want to raise the SMI, 3.5% have pointed out, but has insisted on the need for the increases to be transferred. to public contracts, a request rejected by the Government.

The unions had advanced that they preferred an agreement in which the employers were involved, adjusting their raise claims in that case.

In statements to the media after the meeting, the Deputy Secretary General of Trade Union Policy, Fernando Luján, highlighted that the increase is “coherent” with what the minimum income and other minimum pensions have had.

Luján has also demanded the opening of a negotiation table with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Labor to address transferring these increases to public contracts.

It must reach “all sectors without any difficulty”

Along with this, he has stressed that the increase must reach “all sectors without any difficulty” and has pointed out the agricultural sector, where he has pointed to the possibility of opening a table to follow how it is applied.

For her part, the Secretary of Union Action and Employment of CCOO, Mari Cruz Vicente, has considered the agreed increase “good news”, although she expressed the union’s preference because the agreement would have included the employers.

She has expressed satisfaction that the final increase has been the one demanded by the unions, 5%, an increase that “is not capricious,” she assures, because it is what the INE salary statistics show.

He has highlighted the “strong impact” that the increase will have among the groups that earn the least, with a special impact on women, which will help reduce the gender gap and ensure “that the economy continues to function better and continue contributing to the creation of employment”.

Díaz regrets that the CEOE did not join the SMI agreement but believes that Spain is better today

The second vice president and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, in statements to the media at an event in Santiago, regretted this Friday that the CEOE employers’ association has withdrawn from the agreement to raise the SMI but insists that even so “Spain is today a better country.”

This increase, he insisted, “allows the working people of our country to live a little better in a country where we have very moderate salaries and a negative differential with Europe” which is why it was necessary to move towards this increase.

He has defended, in fact, that the “best tool to fight inequality is called SMI.”

For this reason, he “very much” regretted the attitude of the Spanish employers’ association which, in his opinion, “has prioritized interests that have nothing to do” with this issue and which has prevented them from joining this agreement.

However, the head of Labor has assured that this pact is the result of the “social dialogue” that she always supports, as demonstrated by the fact that as soon as the CEOE made a proposal, she herself called the dialogue table again despite the “ criticism from the unions.”

The PP accuses the Government of imposing the increase in the SMI to cover up Díaz’s “defeat”

The PP has accused the Government of imposing a 5% increase in the minimum interprofessional wage (SMI) without an agreement with the employers to cover up the agreements of the PSOE with Junts and the “defeat” of the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, by overthrowing Podemos his unemployment benefit reform.

This was stated in statements sent to journalists by the Deputy Secretary of Economy of the PP, Juan Bravo, when the Steering Committee of the PP and its leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, have been meeting since yesterday at a retreat in the city of Toledo.

The PP agrees with an increase in the SMI, but only “if it comes from the agreement between employers and unions” and not in the current case, understanding that the Government has accelerated the negotiation and announced an agreement only with the unions because it responds to “media emergencies”.

The popular ones also denounce that this new increase in the SMI to 1,134 euros gross in 14 payments, 54 euros more per month, is going to produce destabilization, especially in small businesses and that “what must be charged to those should not be imposed. that they must pay it.”

By Usmana Kousar