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VI Annual Congress of ADiReLab (Association of Directors of RRLL) on Post-COVID19 Labor Relations and labor reform. Second part

"ADiReLab and Baker McKenzie organized on November 24, 2021, the VI Labor Relations Congress that dealt largely with labor reform and the new business challenges that companies will have to face after the pandemic."

Labor Reform 2021 post-pandemic: union perspective

The last panel, made up of prominent union figures such as Mr. Pepe Álvarez, Secretary General of UGT and D. Unai Deaf, Secretary General of CCOO, consisted of a debate on the 2021 labor reform moderated by the Honorary President of AdiReLab, Of Counsel Baker McKenzie, Mr. Manuel Pimentel. In general, both representatives agreed on the need to deeply correct the current labor model, highlighting the importance of recovering sectoral collective bargaining and ultra-activity, improving the regulation of post-pandemic ERTE and the reform of hiring to end temporary employment .

By UGT, it was advanced that a scenario of easier agreement with the Government and the employer in the axes of collective bargaining and ultra-activity and of the new ERTE is envisaged, while the agreement on temporary hiring will be more complex, although the union position is open on regulatory changes to achieve the objectives of significantly reducing temporary employment. In addition, the increase in the number of personnel in the Labor Inspection, which should double its workforce in the next 4 years, and the increase in sanctions in cases of non-compliance, was pointed out as a priority. It was also pointed out that after the labor reform the legal framework for collective dismissals would have to be improved. 

By CCOO, insisted on union unity in the labor reform and highlighted the value of social dialogue during the pandemic as an intangible for our country and whose example has been the regulation, agreed in record time, of the ERTE as an essential lever to achieve the survival of thousands of companies and jobs. It was added that social dialogue as collective intelligence was a very positive counterpoint to the tension existing in public or social life and that it should be a space less dependent on political changes in the Government. Entering the matter, for CCOO he insisted as conditions sine qua non in the need to recover the ultra-activity of collective agreements, to avoid the labor gap after the end of validity when there is no other conventional regulation and the elimination of the priority of company agreements over sector agreements to avoid unfair competition in the key of dumping salary to devalue working conditions. He also added the perverse effect of temporary hiring due to a series of incentives and a dual culture installed in the last 35 years in the labor market and highlighted the negative aspects of outsourcing understood as mere externalization of risks in the value chain. Likewise, the need to put new obstacles to dismissal was highlighted in order to favor internal flexibility and the German adaptation model through powerful incentives to avoid dismissals that should always be the last ratio.

Finally, both unions referred to the impact of inflation (5.2% in 2021) on the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements and on potential salary increases and pointed out that the increase in inflation recorded has a more temporary than structural component, although there are uncertainties about the increase in energy prices and on the supply chain. However, they warned that they understood that there existed in the business environment, depending on each sector, sufficient margins still for possible annual salary increases in 2022 of more than 2%.

IV National Awards ADiReLab - Alares on Labor Relations. Categories: career path; young talent and relevant action.

Finally, for another year, the ADiReLab National Awards - Alares, which recognize the work of Labor Relations professionals as forces that contribute to the quality of life at work and to the improvement of business competitiveness. The winners of this edition have been Mr. Joaquín Nieto, in the Professional Career in Labor Relations category, Mª Victoria Jiménez as a Young Talent and ChironPrevention for its Relevant Action in Labor Relations and Social Responsibility.

The event closed with the closing of D. Felix M. Peinado, Director of the ILO Office in Spain, who thanked all attendees for their participation and highlighted the need to work on an economic recovery based on resilience, inclusion and social justice.

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About the Author

Carlos de la Torre Garcia

Carlos de la Torre Garcia

Attorney Of Counsel of the Labor Department of Baker & Mckenzie. Specialist in labor and Social Security advice for national and international clients.

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