The negotiation within the Executive for the eventual increase in the interprofessional minimum wage remains unresolved and Unidos Podemos and the unions have decided to increase the pressure on the PSOE to agree to carry out this increase. This Monday, the third vice president of the Government, Yolanda Díaz, asked President Pedro Sánchez to have “the same courage” raising the minimum wage as the one he had pardoning those convicted of the process. And CCOO and UGT announced mobilizations for next July 14 to demand this increase.
That of raising the minimum wage is one of the main battles that are taking place in recent weeks within the Executive. Although in a much more underground way than in the days of Pablo Iglesias, Díaz defends an increase for this year of between 12 and 19 euros compared to the position of the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, who demands to keep the index frozen. Sánchez for the moment has not decided, although in January he already opted for freezing and last month he partially assumed Calviño’s speech, emphasizing that “right now the important thing is job creation and the consolidation of economic growth.”
The Minister of Economy, however, is playing a secondary role in this struggle, since Sánchez and Díaz are directly negotiating the increase in the minimum wage. And that is why the Minister of Labor addressed Sánchez this Monday, even without naming him directly, to demand that this increase be carried out. “We have to have the same courage we had with the pardons now” with this matter, Diaz asked. And he went further by stating that “in 2023” the Government will not be “judged” by the pardons, but “by the people who are suffering.” “It’s where you have to be,” he said.
“My position is known, a progressive government must look out for the weakest,” the Labor Minister concluded. This is the first major clash that Díaz has had with Calviño since he leads United We Can, and sources close to the vice president assure that, if finally Sánchez tips the balance towards Calviño’s side, the vice president will not take public responsibility for a decision in which she does not believe. Moreover, in addition, when Díaz is convinced that the figures prove him right, since the Government’s committee of experts has recommended a rise for this year of between 12 and 19 euros. “It is pure ideology” to say that raising the minimum wage harms job creation, he assured this Monday.
Demonstrations next week
In the same vein as the vice president, the unions spoke on Monday. The Secretary General of the UGT, Pepe Álvarez, announced that the centrals will go out to demonstrate on the 14th to demand this increase in the minimum wage, and asked that Spain not continue to be the exception among the large countries that have a fixed minimum wage. “There is no country with an interprofessional minimum wage that has not raised it in 2021, none,” said Álvarez.
A few days ago, his CCOO counterpart, Unai Sordo, already pointed out that “it would not be understandable” that the Government decided to continue freezing the minimum wage at the current 950 euros, since GDP growth is expected this year above 6% and an increase in prices of more than 2.5%. To reach the goal of the minimum wage being 1,011 and 1,049 euros in 2023, Sordo demanded that the Executive start up now, “better in July than in August.”