Confemetal proposes linking the salary increases of the agreements to "other parameters different from the CPI"

Advocates for the non-retroactivity of the salary review clauses and for capping the amount to be received in the salary tables if they are activated.

Confemetal proposes linking the salary increases of the agreements to "other parameters different from the CPI"

Advocates for the non-retroactivity of the salary review clauses and for capping the amount to be received in the salary tables if they are activated


The Spanish Confederation of Metal Business Organizations (Confemetal) proposes that, in times of "economic uncertainty", collective agreements link wage increases to "other parameters different from the CPI", such as GDP growth, the financial indicator of profitability of the company or objectives set for the worker, as stated in its Economic and Labor Situation Bulletin.

The metal employers acknowledge that, "in principle", the evolution of the CPI is an "opportune reference indicator for maintaining the purchasing power of wages", although there is a risk of an "automatic indication" of wages and this leads to an "inflationary spiral".

"It is especially negative in situations of economic crisis such as the current one, in which the CPI should not be transferred to labor costs and in which, among other measures, improving the competitive position of companies is a priority," Confemetal points out in your Newsletter.

For this reason, the metal employers advocate leaving out of the negotiations of the agreements the retroactivity of the salary review clauses and establishing limits to the amount that is received in the tables, in case the clause is activated.

Confemetal insists on "trying to reduce the impact of the salary review clauses" to avoid "endangering the viability of the company or the maintenance or creation of employment", and recommends resorting to compensation and absorption in the event that the agreement so foresee, the non-application or lowering of the salary increase, the substantial modification of the working conditions in case of salaries that exceed the minimum of the agreement and the agreement with the unions of the graduation or the deferral of the application of the salary increase.

The metal employers recall that, according to data from the Statistics of Collective Agreements of the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, as of December 31, there were a total of 3,084 registered collective agreements from all economic sectors. Of those, 2,675 did not have a salary review clause, compared to 409 that did. In turn, within those 409 collective agreements with a salary review clause, 308 had agreed to it with retroactive effects and 101 without them.

In the specific case of the metal industry, in 2022, 45 of the 50 provincial collective agreements of the Metal Industry were registered, with coverage for 1,214,039 workers. In 16 of these agreements, the negotiating parties did not agree to a safeguard or salary review clause for 287,122 workers, while the 29 provincial agreements that agreed to them covered 926,917 workers.

Confemetal points out that these clauses had retroactive effects in 11 agreements from January 1 or from the month in which the agreed increase for 219,406 workers was exceeded, while in the remaining 18 agreements, the agreed clauses only serve as a basis for calculating the salary tables for the following year for 707,511 workers.

In addition, it points out that in the period of economic effects of 2022, the 29 provincial collective agreements of the Metal Industry agreed on salary review clauses of various types, among which technical clauses predominate, which do not imply the payment of arrears. Once the 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) was known, which stood at 5.7%, the salary review clause was activated in 23 provincial agreements.

Confemetal concluded that the revision clauses agreed by the negotiators of the provincial collective agreements of the Metal Industry in 2022 were characterized by using the real CPI as a reference and including annual reference clauses.

It also recognizes that slightly more than half of the workers with an agreement in force in 2022 are affected by clauses without retroactive effects, which do not imply the payment of arrears, and that 75% of the workers with agreements in force in 2022 have a salary review clause. , and this account has a cap, which determines the amount that is reviewed and transferred to wages.

"The objective of these capped clauses is that the agreed salary review does not imply a full transfer to wages of the differences that occur between the real CPI and the initially agreed salary increase, but rather a partial transfer of this to tables" , notes the metal employers in their Bulletin.

In its February Bulletin, Confemetal also includes the latest economic sentiment survey for the Metal Sector, corresponding to the fourth quarter of 2022, with forecasts for the first months of 2023.

The sector maintains confidence at a minimum and expectations regarding billing are uncertain, although they oscillate between stability and slight falls.

As for exports, 2022 closed "below the stability threshold" and this year starts with a "pessimistic environment", without envisioning increases, "not even slight in foreign sales". However, Confemetal admits that "the majority of respondents expect stability."

The sentiment survey also analyzes employment, which remains "volatile" and without an optimistic outlook among respondents. The metal employers indicate that most of the estimates foresee stability, but the percentage of those who foresee a very negative or slightly negative evolution is growing.

With regard to costs, once again "pessimistic prospects" are perceived. Thus, in energy "stability" or "slight increases" are expected; in transport, the number of respondents who foresee a slight increase increases; and in raw materials, Confemetal does not foresee stability in the short term either.