Escalating inflation has taken a toll on workers’ purchasing power. On average, the wage variations agreed by agreement grew by 1.46% between January and September 2021. In contrast, the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached an interannual rate of 4% in September, the highest in 13 years. Thus, the rise in prices is causing a loss of 2.54% in the purchasing power of employees.
This 1.46% salary increase is below the guidelines set forth in the Interconfederal Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC) 2018-2020, which proposed salary increases of around 2% plus a percentage point linked to concepts such as productivity, business results and absenteeism. This AENC, in force until 2020, is currently waiting for the unions and employers to decide to renew it.
Based on the 2 + 1 that AENC proposed in its guidelines for the stage between 2018 and 2020, data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy shows that only 20% of the 2,467 agreements registered up to September -which affect 6,178,384 workers – this year contemplated the freezing of salaries.
Most of the agreements, 83%, move in average salary increases that go from 0.0% to 2%. On the other hand, only 4.4% of the agreements included a salary increase of more than 3%, the average being 3.9%. Close, therefore, to the inter-annual inflation rates advanced to September. The agreements registered up to September with salary increases of more than 2% barely reach 16.7% of the total. Of the 2,467 collective agreements with economic effects, only 415 were signed in 2021 and the rest, previously signed, show their effects this year.
All below the CPI
No sector grew above the escalation in prices. Information and communication workers occupy the first place in salary variation, with a growth of 3.4% until September that affected 100,000 workers. Half a million Construction workers saw their salary increased by an average percentage of 2.38 points until September, while 680,000 Education workers cut inflation in half, with an increase of 2%.
Below the average, the bulk of Commerce and Manufacturing, which brings together a total of 2.4 million workers, grew by around 1.30% on average. Three agreements in Real Estate, where more than 70,000 people work, frozen wages (0%).
Of all the agreements, 1,922 were company agreements, with effects on 401,000 workers and an average wage increase of 1.10%, and 545 were sectoral agreements, covering almost 5.8 million workers, with an average wage increase of 1.48%.
By types and rises
As for the 415 new bargaining units signed up to September, 302 were company agreements, with an average wage increase of 1.02% for 124,904 workers. The remaining 113 were higher level agreements, with an increase of 1.41% for more than 1.9 million employees.
The salary increases agreed in the agreements signed this year are lower than those of the agreements signed previously but with effect in 2021.
Thus, company agreements signed before this year show an average salary increase of 1.13%, above the 1.02% of the new agreements, while in the case of sectoral agreements these percentages are 1.52 % and 1.41%, respectively.
The average working day agreed in the agreement stood at 1,721.7 hours per year per worker until September (1,716.5 hours in company agreements and 1,722 in higher level agreements).
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