Escrivá and the leaders of the CCOO and UGT reply to CEOE that this reform does not endanger employment or the competitiveness of companies
The Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, and the General Secretaries of the CCOO and UGT, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez, respectively, signed the agreement for the second phase of the pension reform on Wednesday after the governing bodies of both unions have unanimously endorsed it.
The three have agreed that it is a "historic" reform, which guarantees the sustainability of pensions and reinforces their sufficiency and the equity of the system, while they have refuted CEOE that this reform is going to be a drag on the creation employment and business competitiveness.
In an appearance before the press at the Ministry's headquarters, the minister and the union leaders explained this agreement, which is called 'Agreement for the expansion of pensioners' rights, the reduction of the gender gap and the establishment of a new sustainability framework for the public pension system'.
Through this bipartite agreement, which has not had the support of CEOE and Cepyme because it considers that obtaining income from the system is charged to the backs of companies, the self-employed and workers, the finishing touch is put on the different reforms in the pensions undertaken in this legislature and contemplated in the Spanish Recovery Plan.
Starting at 4:00 p.m., Minister Escrivá will appear before the Toledo Pact Commission of Congress to report on this reform and, if all goes well, an extraordinary Council of Ministers will be held tomorrow to approve the Royal Decree-law that develops it.
The second leg of the pension reform has the endorsement of Unidas Podemos, has been negotiated with the European Commission and is one of the milestones linked to the fourth disbursement of European funds.
ESCRIVÁ: THIS REFORM WILL BE AN "INTERNATIONAL REFERENCE"
Minister Escrivá has highlighted that this reform will benefit current and future pensioners, offering young people a reference in the medium and long term on what their pensions will be like at the time of their retirement.
Escrivá has stressed that the reform "strengthens" the system, contemplates "very powerful" elements of intergenerational equity, improves rights and eliminates "uncertainties". Thus, faced with the cut in pensions implied by the 2013 reform of the PP government, Escrivá has remarked that this reform ensures that the entry pension is equivalent to 80% of the last salary.
In addition, through the income measures adopted and the incentives to delay retirement, the effect for 2050 that implied a reduction in pension spending of three points of GDP is "neutralized".
Escrivá has expressed his confidence that this reform will be able to arouse the greatest support among the parliamentary groups, to which he will present the reform this afternoon at the Toledo Pact Commission.
The minister has also been convinced that this reform will be an "international reference" and has replied to CEOE that "in no case does it endanger employment and the competitiveness of companies". "Great demagoguery is being made on this issue and they are manageable rises (in contributions)," Escrivá pointed out, adding that the average labor cost per hour worked in Spain will only increase by 37 cents with this reform.
The head of Inclusion has criticized study services such as BBVA for having made assessments of this reform through "hasty and opportunistic calculations made on a personal computer in a house", without knowing the metrics of the reform and the details of the text, which has been worked on by "very powerful" and multidisciplinary teams of expert economists and actuaries.
The union leaders have agreed with Escrivá on this point. Thus, the leader of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, has denounced that what these analyzes of different study services are trying to do is "give coverage to political and economic sectors", especially the employers' proposals. "This reform distances business from the private pension system, which is what our country's financial system has aspired to for years," he pointed out.
In this line, the general secretary of the CCOO, Unai Sordo, has affirmed that this type of report does not respond only to "a lack of rigor", but rather "they want to cover what are ideological and interested analyzes with supposedly technical analyses" to not to end the "business niche" of insurance companies.
ÁLVAREZ: "HISTORIC" AGREEMENT AIMED ESPECIALLY AT YOUNG PEOPLE
During his speech, Álvarez stressed that, for his union, this reform has "historical importance", since it balances expenses and income and guarantees young people "decent pensions".
"From now on, anyone who wants to intervene in expenses and income will have to explain to our country who is taking away and who is putting in," said Álvarez, who has attached great importance to the fact that Brussels has given its endorsement to this reform.
The UGT leader has reproached CEOE for not having supported the agreement because, in his opinion, "there are no arguments that justify it." In this sense, he has reminded businessmen that their contributions to the system have dropped four points from 1982 to today.
"I am convinced that it is no less than the top down of the maximum bases," stressed the UGT leader, who has branded as "inconsistent" that the employers signed the first reform and did not sign the second reform, which is the one that determines how the first one is going to be financed through the uncapping of the maximum bases and a greater contribution.
DEAF: "MORE INCOME, MORE PROTECTION AND MORE CERTAINTY"
For his part, the CCOO general secretary, Unai Sordo, has congratulated the Ministry and its owner for "the ability to redirect before the European Commission the measures that generated the most problems" in this negotiation, such as the extension of the calculation period of the pension.
In this sense, Sordo has pointed out that the dual pension calculation model adopted in this reform offers a "meritable and manageable way out", and has added that, carrying out this reform with the endorsement of the European Commission, "is of significant importance very important geopolitical and strategic".
The CCOO leader recalled that this second leg completes the tripartite agreement signed a year ago and contemplates measures to "provide reliability and stability" to the system. "If we had to put a title to this agreement, it could be 'more income, more protection, more certainties'. It is essential to send certainties to the Spanish population," he specified.
Sordo has detailed that this second reform "guarantees more income to Social Security" and gives a "change of approach to the challenges posed by the retirement of the 'baby boomers'", so that pensions are not cut, but rather reinforce.
The CCOO leader has also referred to businessmen, to whom he has replied that, contrary to what they maintain, the rise in prices contemplated in the reform is "absolutely manageable."
Likewise, he has criticized the positions of "exaggeration and hyperbole" of the CEOE regarding the solidarity quota and has ruled out that this measure will discourage the attraction of talent in Spain, as stated by the president of the businessmen, Antonio Garamendi. "These are manageable measures and do not have any cost in terms of job creation," he remarked.