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The PNV and the Spanish Government agree to give priority to regional and provincial agreements

The PNV and the Spanish Government agree to give priority to regional and provincial agreements

Jeickson Sulbaran

May 21, 2024 | 6:44 p.m.

Necessary reforms in the Workers' Statute

The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) has achieved an important agreement with the Spanish Government that grants priority to regional and provincial agreements over state and sectoral agreements, as long as they are more beneficial for workers. This pact, reached within the framework of the investiture agreement between the PNV and the PSOE, marks a significant milestone in collective bargaining in Spain, especially in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country and the provinces. The measure has received the support of both the Basque unions ELA and LAB and the Basque employers' association, Confebask.

The prevalence of regional and provincial agreements over state onesIt will be approved in the Council of Ministers this Tuesday, integrating into the unemployment benefit reform that will receive the green light. Aitor Esteban, spokesperson for the PNV in Congress, will be in charge of offering more details about this momentous agreement throughout the morning.

A step back in time

The idea of ​​giving priority to Basque agreements is not new. Between December 2023 and January 2024, this measure was briefly in force thanks to a royal decree that included, among other provisions, the unemployment benefit reform. However, the proposal failed to be revalidated in Congress due to the joint opposition of Podemos, PP, Vox and UPN.

The PNV and the Spanish Government agree to give priority to regional and provincial agreements

Since then, the PNV has insisted on the need to reintroduce this measure, demanding its approval in conversations with both the PSOE and Sumar. However, this demand has met with some resistance. A few weeks ago, Sumar's economic spokesman in Congress, Carlos Martín Urriza, expressed his rejection of the prevalence of regional or provincial agreements over state ones, arguing that "it would mean breaking the unity of the working class." Despite these statements, the PNV recalled that the measure was part of the investiture pact and had been ratified by the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz. Pressure from the PNV led Martín Urriza to retract and delete his message.

For the prevalence of regional and provincial agreements to be effective, reforms will be required in articles 84.3 and 84.4 of the Workers' Statute. During the last legislature, Yolanda Díaz refused to include this measure in the labor reform, which caused the PNV to vote against. Now, with the new agreement, the PNV hopes to see its historic demand materialized.

The measure not only represents significant progress in the protection of labor rights in Euskadi, but also reflects the Spanish Government's commitment to decentralization and respect for regional particularities. The Basque unions, ELA and LAB, have shown their unconditional support for this measure, highlighting that it will allow Basque workers to benefit from more favorable agreements adapted to the economic and social reality of the region.

A crucial support

The support of Confebask, the Basque employers' association, is equally significant. The business organization has highlighted that the measure will contribute to greater flexibility and adaptability in collective bargaining, allowing Basque companies to respond more effectively to current economic challenges. This collaboration between unions and employers in the Basque Country underlines the importance of social consultation and dialogue to reach agreements that benefit all the actors involved.

The agreement between the PNV and the Spanish government marks a before and after in collective bargaining in Spain. By giving priority to regional and provincial agreements, the diversity and specificity of the different regions of the country are recognized, allowing greater adaptability and fairness in working conditions. This advance, which will be approved by the Council of Ministers, is a reflection of the PNV's commitment to the rights of Basque workers and to the autonomy of Euskadi in the management of its labor affairs.

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