Not so long ago it was common for Catalan employers to be in the news because of conflicts between them. Now, excluding the free verse of the Chamber, the situation has changed: the arrival of Josep Sánchez Llibre in Foment at the end of 2018 and especially the outbreak of the pandemic have made Catalan business organizations have a single voice in such matters such as labor regulation, the need to apply direct aid to the sectors most affected by the current crisis and, in recent days, the holding of elections on the date scheduled for this February.
In the latter case, Catalan employers argue that “the country urgently needs to form a stable and strong government with the capacity to make decisions and approve budgets for economic and social recovery.”
Fomento del Treball (employers of large companies) and Pimec (SMEs) demanded yesterday that the decision on when the elections will be held do not include “partisan criteria” and stressed that more scenarios must be opened to have a government that acts “With determination” and thus begin a new stage of recovery and reconstruction.
“Delaying the configuration of the Government would cause a delay in decision-making and implementation of public policies that should help the country to manage and overcome the health, social and economic crisis,” said the employers.
In this way, Pimec and Foment del Treball insisted that employers need the elections to the Parliament to be on February 14 and not to be postponed, with all the health precautions so that they can be held.
Cecot joins the front
But Fomento and Pimec are not alone in the claim. The president of the Cecot employer in Vallès, Antoni Abad, added to the business claim yesterday, assuring that it is “reckless” to anticipate the situation of the pandemic on 14 February. “Talking a month later is very complicated,” he said. Abad was in favor of that if the appointment with the ballot boxes finally has to be canceled, the decision must be made as soon as possible.
The president of Cecot joined the current of business opinion that defends that the quarrels within the Government between Esquerra and JxCat harm the companies and have an impact on the business fabric.
The position of the employers to go ahead with the election date is consistent with the approaches they have had in recent months against the closure of different sectors with high customer presence -mainly catering and trade-. Employers have repeatedly protested against the closure measures to deal with the virus that have been defended not only by the government of the Generalitat, but also by health authorities and epidemiologists.
In the same vein, both Foment and Pimec and Cecot have led a trickle of messages in recent months to call for direct aid to the most affected sectors to be much more ambitious than they have been. His messages have been addressed to the Generalitat but also to the central government to try to save sectors that -especially in the case of services related to tourism- have an important weight in the Catalan economy.
The unions, with small mouths
More discreetly, but also clearly, the unions have advocated that the elections be held when scheduled, on the second Sunday in February. The head of UGT in Catalonia, Camil Ros, said that “if now is a bad time, postponing them would be much worse.” His counterpart at CCOO de Catalunya, Javier Pacheco, spoke along the same lines on Twitter: “Health and the economy need political leadership and more economic resources”, and added that postponing the elections would be a serious problem ”.
While the two parties of the Catalan executive are still maneuvering with regard to their position, the employers are pushing for a litany that has been felt in this and also in previous legislatures: that an executive is needed to govern and that what exists now is not it does.
The employer thus overcomes public tensions such as that maintained since 2016, when Foment and Cecot clashed over the territorial distribution (the Valles employer had left its original scope) and also the lack of harmony between the then president of Foment , Joaquim Gay de Montellà, and the Abbot himself. The arrival of Sánchez Llibre served to close the conflict.
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