“We don’t know very well what Yolanda Díaz is referring to when she talks about an income agreement.” Luis Aribayos, general secretary of the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises (CEPYME), has warned the government and unions, in an interview with OKDIARIO’s HOY RESPONDE, that it is impossible to link wages to inflation. Aribayos asks the Government of Pedro Sánchez to be “serious beyond electoral interests.” “The situation is -he says- very complicated. People, families and companies are having a very hard time. And the government cannot be there every week, or less, with constant trial balloons that affect the image of Spain, its legal certainty and something very important: foreign investment”.
Aribayos has stated that “the data indicates that Spanish companies, despite the situation, are raising salaries in the environment, according to sectors (others cannot) of 2 and 3% thanks to the more than 4,500 negotiating tables throughout the country ”, but he has pointed out – in line with that epicenter income pact now of the controversy in the social dialogue – that “if what is intended is to raise salaries by linking them to inflation, that would be irresponsible that would lead to second-round inflation and it would be a real problem for the future viability of this country.”
Luis Aribayos laments the government’s constant attacks on business: “It is very difficult for Vice President Yolanda Díaz to ask for agreements in the field of collective bargaining and to ask, we don’t really know what she means by the rent agreement… while she encourages the unions to demonstrate against the employers”.
He asks Díaz and the rest of the ministers to be “cautious in their declarations and aware of what we are playing for in the very difficult months ahead.” Small and medium businessmen do not understand the argumentative dynamic in which the government has gotten involved: “Attacking the company and pointing it out as guilty is further complicating the situation. The company and the entrepreneurs are a fundamental part of the solution”.
We spoke with Luis Aribayos about Yolanda Díaz asking to intervene in prices or about Minister Escrivá suggesting recentralizing taxes. What Aribayos asks of the Pedro Sánchez government is “seriousness beyond electoral interests.” “The situation is -he says- very complicated. People, families and companies are having a very hard time. And the government cannot be there every week, or less, with constant trial balloons that affect the image of Spain, its legal certainty and something very important: foreign investment”.
CEPYME supports the tax cuts announced this week by Juanma Moreno in Andalusia and Fernando López Miras in the Region of Murcia, following in the footsteps of Isabel Díaz Ayuso in Madrid and, especially, deflating: “People do not make it to the end of the month, but the government has a record tax collection caused by inflation. We support the reduction of the wealth tax, but above all deflate. Inflation is pure government revenue and affects citizens. Apart from the effect on tax rates that underlies the increase in the tax base”.
Luis Aribayos draws attention to the fact that “while the government collects taxes from citizens in an extraordinary way and companies do tricks to move forward and stay afloat, there is no saving measure in the Administration.” “You don’t hear anything about it,” he laments.
The general secretary of CEPYME smiles when we remind him that President Sánchez speaks of an economic and business conspiracy against his government. Sánchez suggests the image of gentlemen with cigars in cenacles conspiring against his executive. Aribayos smiles because the data speaks for itself when the government launches this image of business: “99.8% of companies in Spain are SMEs and 94.7% are micro-enterprises with less than 10 workers. That’s the numbers. That is the Spanish business fabric. There are only 5,000 large companies in our country”.
And remember that 2/3 of employment in Spain depends on SMEs. “It is very important -reiterates Aribayos- not to demonize the productive fabric and the company. There is no one left here. And we must also be proud of the large companies in our country that carry the Spain brand abroad, that create employment and wealth and that pay taxes in our country”
In August, 19,000 companies closed and the prospects for autumn are no better: “With this drop we are at 1,436,000 companies in Spain, which is the number of companies there were in 2015”. Luis Aribayos also recalls, “that we never managed to recover, after the previous crisis, the level of companies that existed in 2008”. “These are -he highlights- worrying data”.
The general secretary of CEPYME describes companies drowned by the increase in costs, inflation and the reduction of margins to a minimum, forced to use these margins to compensate for the rise in costs: “We receive calls daily from desperate colleagues, who do not know how to go on”. Because it rains on wet. The government forced companies to get into debt with ICO credits to survive the covid and, now, with the war in Ukraine, they are over-indebted.
Aribayos acknowledges that, unlike other European governments, ICOs were a death trap for many. Bread for today and hunger for tomorrow: “Spain only allocated 0.6% of GDP to compensate companies for their lack of turnover derived from the covid confinement. And I say compensation -and not help- because many times it was just that: partial and ridiculous compensation for losses. Spain is the OECD country whose GDP fell the most in the pandemic (11.3%) and has not yet recovered it.
There were countries with a smaller drop such as the Netherlands or Germany that allocated up to 3.5% of their GDP to help companies. Now the war in Ukraine has arrived and the situation of companies in these countries where GDP fell less and received direct aid and compensation for their loss of turnover more effectively than in Spain, is better than the situation of Spanish companies” .
Luis Aribayos also regrets the malfunction of European funds: “We have been at this for two years and, unfortunately, they are not coming”. And he warns: “Those 70,000 million must be used to preserve the productive fabric of our country. Because if the war continues and the price of energy remains high, what is going to occur is a significant loss of the Spanish productive fabric and it will take a long time to recover it”.