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Spanish Employers’ Group Says Progress Made on Wage-Bargaining

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Changes to wage-bargaining rules approved by Spain’s Cabinet last week are an improvement on the draft version presented by the government, the head of the country’s main business group said.

“What’s clear is that there is a big difference between what there was last Wednesday and what there was at the weekend,” Juan Rosell, chairman of the group, known as CEOE, told reporters after giving a speech in the northern Spanish city of Santander today. “There is an important change and let’s see if it bears fruit.”

The CEOE criticized a draft version of the rules presented June 8, saying they didn’t go far enough in making labor legislation more flexible as Spain bids to bring down an unemployment rate of more than 21 percent. Finance Minister Elena Salgado defended the text passed by the Cabinet on June 10, saying it was an improvement on the draft.

Among the changes to the new law, passed by decree on June 10, is a clause that stops expired wage agreements being indefinitely rolled over in the absence of new deals, Salgado said. The new text also states “clearly” that wage deals negotiated at a company level take precedence over provincial agreements, Salgado said.

Changes to labor laws are part of the government’s efforts to convince investors it can spur enough growth to rein in the euro region’s third-largest deficit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Penty in Santander, Spain, at cpenty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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