The Government targets political support for the pension reform
The negotiation of the second phase of the pension reform between the Government and the social agents pointed to a sprint in this first week after the Christmas holidays that has not yet started. There is still no official call for the negotiating table and the discreet and informal conversations that have been taking place for weeks are being distorted by the intention of Minister José Luis Escrivá to include in the text the extension of the calculation period from 25 to 30 years ( with the possibility of eliminating the two worst years of contribution).
A measure that arouses the rejection of employers, unions, members of United We Can and the rest of the formations that the Government needs to carry out the reform in Congress. In the latter, in the parliamentary groups, the negotiating efforts are now focused, as pointed out by social dialogue sources and based on the environment of Escrivá himself, who speak of a “decisive and advanced” moment of the talks, without prejudging the result of them.
The Government will have to legislate if there is no agreement, given that the pending modifications are committed to the European Commission within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, key for Spain to continue receiving liquidity from the Next Generation Funds. However, the objective is that everything that is approved has the greatest possible support and that “no one is surprised by what reaches Congress,” the same sources point out.
That the groups are aware of the scope of the measures
In principle and in an ideal scenario, the text should be previously agreed with the social agents, although it would be carried out almost immediately in the Lower House after its approval in the Council of Ministers. For this reason, it is convenient that the government partners and the rest of the forces that can give the green light with their support to the new phase of the reform “be aware” of the scope of the measures that the Executive intends to carry out before the end of the month from January
As already happened with the reform of the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers (RETA) in July, the second part of the reform will be approved a few weeks after the agreement with Brussels -it was agreed to do so before December 31 so that it could enter into force from on January 1 – without this being a major problem. Sources close to the employers explain that they have not been summoned nor have there been any calls and considering that the dialogue has entered into a deadlock after the last proposal that the Ministry of Social Security changed to them in the middle of last month.
It does not seem that Escrivá is going to give up increasing the computation period -despite the fact that this aspect was not included in the recommendations of the Toledo Pact Commission- and it is more than foreseeable that he will continue with the idea of gradually uncovering the maximum bases of contribution (of the contributions of the highest salaries to the Social Security system) between 2025 and 2050, a measure that would be accompanied by a review of the amount of maximum pensions at a much slower pace.
The reform, Unidas Podemos and the electoral year
Other sources consulted doubt that Unidas Podemos is going to give in with the extension of the number of years of contribution that is taken as a reference to calculate the pension in a situation like this: four months after the municipal and regional elections and a few months more than the general ones, scheduled for the end of the year if Pedro Sánchez fulfills his commitment to exhaust the legislature. Any measure that implies a future decrease in the amount of retirement is a red line for the coalition partner.
Escrivá defends that this measure is necessary to adapt the calculation of the pension to the current working careers, in which -contrary to what happened traditionally- the years in which the most contributions are made are no longer the last. The Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations also defends the need to correct the gaps caused by years without contributions, as well as other measures that could also be used to reduce the gender gap in pensions and that would be added to the complement in gorque arrived in February last year.
The fear that the new phase of the reform could run aground in the Congress of Deputies has also caused the majority unions to reject the text. Neither the CCOO nor the UGT want to find themselves with a photograph similar to the one that occurred with the approval of the labor reform, which went ahead by the minimum thanks to the wrong vote of the PP deputy Alberto Casero.