The Government breathed a sigh of relief on February 4 when the number of unemployed stood at the gates of four million workers and was able to make a positive reading of the evolution of the crisis. It was a reading that practically no one shared and that I could hardly sustain now. Between February 1 and 11, the number of workers on file for temporary employment regulation touched 900,000 workers. The economy remains depressed and companies added almost 140,000 people to the 739,000 who were in ERTE in January.
The data was communicated yesterday by the Minister of Social Security and Migrations, Jose Luis Escriva, who pointed out that until last week the number of workers in ERTE amounted to 878,000 workers. The head of Social Security, who attended a conference with the College of Economists in Madrid after seeing his proposals for the maternity supplement and new modifications in the Minimum Living Income (IVM) approved by the hair in Congress, assured that in the next few weeks there will be a “significant” reduction in workers who are covered by this mechanism, reports Europa Press.
Escrivá did not want to go into specifying what proportion of the total number of people currently affected by ERTE will return to their jobs. Since last April, the number of workers who find themselves in this situation has barely dropped from 700,000, constituting a group that the Administration does not count as unemployed but that is in a situation that economists describe as effective unemployment or “underutilized ” In the labor market. Among the unemployed and affected by ERTE the figure rises to 4.8 million, according to the data advanced by the person in charge of Social Security.
“It is very difficult to judge,” wrote Escriva about the employment opportunities of those affected by ERTE. “I tend to think that the Spanish hotel sector is very competitive and that demand will return, and very strong, throughout Europe when restrictions are lifted, but there may be some structural impacts. I see some risk in associated events, but it is very limited impact, “he said. Once the state of alarm has ended, on May 31, the minister has stated that it will be a good time to re-evaluate the situation and that the Executive is open to accompany all companies until the end of the pandemic.
Hopefully we are in a very advanced situation from the point of view of economic normalization,” he said, after stating that the regulatory framework of the ERTE should provide certainty until the economic recovery is underpinned. During his speech, the minister has assured that in the transport sector there could be some structural effect and has affirmed that it could have “a structural need for ERTE”. Likewise, the head of the Ministry has taken the opportunity to point out that the Government wants to take advantage of the ERTE experience “so that the model remains” in the Spanish labor market.
Like the entire economic area of the Government, Escriva has hinted that hard times are coming for SMEs and the self-employed, who are going to be the ones that will be hit the hardest by the crisis in the coming weeks. The person in charge of Social Security affirmed that the ERTE should be linked to collective bargaining. “This is easy in large and medium-sized sectors, but the challenge that we are going to have is when all this happens in a restaurant,” he said.
The minister has advanced that he advocates creating a new figure, which he has called structural ERTE, which is characterized by facilitating the mobility of workers between companies without having to go through unemployment to avoid situations of employment regulation files (ERE). Besides, it would be linked to the training of workers in ERTE and would be financed with funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which makes it easier for companies to adapt to face the transition towards the new green and digital economy.