On April 22 the ERC deputy Jordi Salvador i Duch submitted a battery of eight questions to the Government in which he questioned the situation of the Catalan mutual Activa Mutua, would be a candidate for absorption by another entity after a series of catastrophic misfortunes that have brought it to a limiting financial situation, as previously stated by La Información, and specifically due to the role played by the General Directorate of Social Security Organization ( DGOSS) – the body in charge of coordinating this area within the organization chart of the Ministry of Inclusion and Social Security – in its current situation.
The Republican deputy questioned the Executive, for example, for the specific reasons that had led the DGOSS to warn about the possible adoption of precautionary measures against the mutual, about what specific legal precept that warning was justified and also because of the future plans that it had for the mutual and if between them a possible merger with Ibermutua, the entity that already in 2018 absorbed the Mutua Gallega in the last merger process that the sector has experienced.
The Information has had access to minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors of Activa Mutua that reveal constant interference by Social Security in management aspects that in some cases they are internal, which suggest an alignment of the current director general of the entity, Miguel Ángel Díaz Peña – the man whose appointment was supported in his day by the former Secretary of State for Social Security, Octavio Granado, and who is currently in charge of sick leave – with the interests of the Secretary of State and that also reveal a climate of panic within the mutual due to the consequences that any act that is not consistent with the proposals that are transferred from the Ministry may have for its future.
The only mutual that did not defend itself from the Inspection
The fall from grace of Activa Mutua, affected like the rest of the entities in the sector by the increase in spending on terminations, by certain management gaps and by the lack of response in the form of financing by the Government, can be dated : the year 2019. That year the results of the campaign that the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate opened, already in the era of the PP, against supposedly luxury expenses of some mutuals from the public purse and Activa Mutua unwittingly becomes the main protagonist of that campaign by transcending the media – in a way in which some of the former directors of the mutual observe a exemplary eagerness on the part of Social Security – The sanction of around one million euros imposed against her by the Inspection and the disclosure of the file to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in case criminal consequences could be derived from it.
The shock was used by Social Security to promote a clean in the top management of the mutual – which meant the departure of its managing director and also of its then president Josep Nogués -, imposing a plan of action and sanitation and to place as managing director a man of the total confidence of Octavio Granado, Miguel Ángel Díaz Peña, former general director of Ordenación de la Seguridad Social between 2004 and 2011 and co-author with Granado of some journalistic article very critical of the management of mutuals. Only a few months later, according to the information to which this medium has had access, the role of Díaz Peña was key to block the intention of the Directorate of Activa Mutua to go to court with the advice of Cuatrecasas to appeal the action of the Labor Inspection against the entity in the same way that other entities in the sector in a similar situation did.
Industry sources reveal that days before Activa Mutua desisted from filing this appeal in court, Díaz Peña sent a letter to the Board of Directors in which he warned of the possible commission of a fraud of law if an appeal was filed against the Administration on which it depended, on the consequences on the reputation of the entity that such action could have and even reported that the magistrate to whom the presentation on the appeal would correspond was a person with personal and family relationships with the Inspection, which in his opinion, it minimized the chances of success.
Activa Mutua finally opted for not submitting an appeal to the sanction of the Inspection and had to digest a total financial hit of 2.2 million euros between the sanction and the reimbursement of the fund, which it assumed for the most part with its own assets and which left the mutual without treasury reserves in the midst of a brutal crisis for the sector. Other mutuals did appeal the minutes that the Inspection raised in the framework of the raid started in 2017 and just a few weeks ago the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Ibermutua’s interests the first sentence in relation to this matter, which in court The sector opens the door to a wave of favorable resolutions in that same instance. Sources close to the Catalan mutual complain bitterly that his case was the only one that jumped into the media and the only one that was referred to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office …
Barring internal reorganization, interference in management …
The movements promoted by Social Security in Activa Mutua as a result of the episode of the sanction of the Inspection led to an intense internal reorganization that resulted in the departure of a handful of historical directors of the house and the landing of trusted people of the new managing director , as interpreted by sources close to the entity and ratified by different sources in the sector. The matter got to the point that the new president of Activa Mutua, Domingo Bargalló, came to complain to a Board of Directors, according to one of the minutes to which this media has had access, about the lack of communication with those responsible for DGOSS, which apparently they only dispatched with the new managing director without taking into account the governing bodies of the mutual. Things did not improve after the loss of Díaz Peña due to a health issue. In the meetings of the Board of Directors, the recurring complaint has been that the relationship with Social Security was limited to receiving impediments from the public body to any initiative adopted by the mutual.
One of these initiatives was the appointment of an acting managing director while Díaz Peña’s resignation continued. The decision did not sit well with the DGOSS, according to another of the minutes to which La Información has had access, and to such an extent that on December 9 of last year Social Security sent a letter to the mutual demanding the restitution of the organization chart prior to this appointment and the reestablishment of a number of people in their responsibilities, as well as other indications in relation to certain practices of the mutual, given the realization that the new team would be departing from the plan established in 2019. Activa Mutua has not taken long to revoke its provisional scheme and propose the appointment of a new director manager to replace Díaz Peña with the approval of Social Security.
The chapter of the letter sent from the DGOSS left another episode that reveals the influence of Social Security in the management of Activa Mutua. Two of the trusted managers of the open stage in 2019 were in charge of circulating the trade among the workforce at their own risk, giving the changes approved and without any prior authorization from the Board of Directors of the mutual, the highest body of government of the same. The matter, recorded as a lack of seriousness, caused the opening of a disciplinary file and was dealt with in the next Board of Directors of the mutual in order to take the corresponding disciplinary measures, among which the union representative representing the interests of the workers in the entity he requested the dismissal of those responsible to avoid situations of comparative injury with other similar situations in which that measure was adopted. It was not so.
The minutes of the Board reveal that the managing director of discharge, Díaz Peña, requested “the benevolence with the files” and that DGOSS itself intervened to ask the mutual’s governing bodies to be “magnanimous”. Those responsible were punished with the suspension of their senior management contracts and consequent loss of managerial status, although they kept their jobs. Asked about the matter before publishing this news, Social Security sources limited themselves to pointing out that the disciplinary files are internal affairs of the mutuals in which the General Directorate of Social Security Organization does not interfere.
Editor’s Note: The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations has contacted this wording after the publication of this news to send a note in this regard, after not having done so more explicitly during the calls and requests for appointments that were made. they asked him to get his explanations. We reproduce its exact text here:
Mutual societies are private associations of businessmen whose purpose is to collaborate in the management of Social Security, under the direction and supervision of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations through the General Directorate of Social Security Organization. Notwithstanding this private nature, mutuals are part of the state public sector of an administrative nature, in accordance with the public nature of their functions and the public economic resources they manage. Hence, the General Law of Social Security specifically prohibits commercial profit operations, activities to attract associated companies or associated workers, and the granting of benefits in favor of associated entrepreneurs.
In June 2019, and in view of serious irregularities in the management that had been detected (duplications in the directive, organizational and functional structure; company recruitment practices; excess spending on current goods and services; unjustified use of private healthcare means used; remuneration policy), the General Directorate of Social Security Organization defined an action plan for its correction that was approved by the new Board of Directors that elected a new president and proposed the appointment of a new manager that was authorized by the DGOSS . During the time that has elapsed since then, the mutual has been subject to continuous supervision by the DGOSS, with the collaboration of the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate. At the same time, these irregularities have led to the opening of preliminary proceedings before the Court of Auditors.
In December 2020, the aforementioned Inspection warned that, after the new manager’s sick leave, some measures of the action plan already adopted were being reversed. As a consequence of this, the DGOSS sent a letter to the mutual (December 9, 2020) stating that if the breaches persist, precautionary measures could be adopted.
In March 2021, and again after an action by the Labor Inspectorate, the DGOSS again requested the mutual to report on the measures adopted and pending. In response to this request, the mutual provided a roadmap last April, compliance with which is being monitored and evaluated by the DGOSS for the adoption of the aforementioned precautionary measures, if applicable. The DGOSS has limited itself to supervising and evaluating this roadmap without any type of interference or any other interest other than the defense of the public interest.
It should be remembered that all the actions carried out by the DGOSS, in collaboration with the Labor Inspectorate and the General Social Security Intervention, bear in mind that the necessary financing for the maintenance and operation of the mutual is carried out through Social Security contributions.
Source: LA INFORMACIÓN – Lo último by www.lainformacion.com.
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