“In this legislature it is time to address the 35-hour work day on the path towards 32 hours a week.” This is how emphatic the general secretary of UGT, Pepe Álvarez, was this Wednesday in his traditional press conference at the beginning of the school year, in which he hinted at his discomfort that the debate around the formation of a new Government revolves around amnesty and referendum and is not based on “the real problems” that people have, such as employment and unemployment, prices, wages or housing, among others. “Imagine that 35 hours of workday is a condition for investing the future president of the Government,” he said as an impossible wish.
But this will be one of the great objectives that the union plans to achieve for the next legislature, a legislature that “will be “more complex” to reach agreements, especially those that involve financial disbursements, with the foreseeable entry of Junts as a Government partner. , a party they describe as the economic right.
For this reason, one of the first requests that the UGT will make to the new president – and which would have no counterpart in the public accounts – will be to modify the Workers’ Statute to reduce the current 40 hours per week that are established as a maximum working day to 35 hours before that the legislature ends. And then begin to negotiate another reduction in collective agreements to 32 hours. And without any salary compensation, of course. “Since the Almunia law until today it has not been touched and we believe that this legislature is the time,” he said.
Álvarez argued that since 1984 the working day in Spain has not been changed by law, despite the fact that productivity levels “have visibly increased in all sectors.” This measure, far from reducing productivity, the union maintains that it will improve it and, in the same way, rules out that it will “not at all” affect employment.
The other great challenge that UGT has set for this legislature is to continue raising the minimum interprofessional wage (SMI) because it is currently not at 60% of the average wage, as the Government had promised. In their opinion, to reach this level it should rise from the current 1,080 euros per month to around 1,200 euros, since they consider that the statistics on which it must be based is that of the Tax Agency (which determines the average salary for 2022). in 28,301 euros) and not in the one determined by a group of experts “who have not been able to quantify it exactly, they have not left the methodology to continue locating the average salary.”
Make dismissal more expensive
What’s more, Álvarez went a step further and demanded that the increase in the minimum wage work every year “automatically”, exactly the same as it happens with pensions, so that by law that 60% of the average salary is guaranteed and leaves updating with the Treasury statistics, and it does not have to be the Government of the day that decides at the end of the year if it increases and by what amount.
Another battle that the unions will fight is to make dismissal more expensive since “in Spain it is still cheap,” stressed the leader of UGT, who called for introducing other elements other than the days of compensation established by the legislation, such as the situation of the people, the training, the company’s reasons for dismissal…