Podemos party, Pedro Sánchez's coalition partner, hardens criticism against Spain's business leaders: "This is unbearable and irresponsible"
The governing party has been increasingly critical of the CEOE following differences over the Universal Basic Income project.

Podemos party, a coalition partner of Spanish President Pedro Sánchez, is directly confronting the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE), the country's leading business association, after the organization denounced "pressure", "manipulation" and "disloyalty" on the part of Vice President Pablo Iglesias, who recently announced an agreement with the CEOE around the minimum living wage, Spain's version of an Universal Basic Income program.

Podemos Representative Rafael Mayoral has taken advantage of the Health Commission in the Congress of Deputies, where Minister Salvador Illa reports on the management of the Covid-19 crisis, to take a hard line against the CEOE. "What has happened to the CEOE is not acceptable," he said.

"I want to take this opportunity to condemn the attitude of the CEOE during this time, which has adopted a belligerent attitude around the possibility that this right is recognized for all", said Mayoral in an implicit reference to the statement issued last Thursday by the organization, which supported the minimum income but questioned the forms and the "pressure" of VP Iglesias.

"It is absolutely irresponsible the attitude of the CEOE and it is absolutely unacceptable the statements of Garamendi in such a serious situation," Mayoral argued.

On this point, Mayoral referred to the expansion of La Caixa, one of Spain's largest banking institutions that recently announced the opening of a subsidiary in Luxembourg. The lawmaker said this move "is not admissible". "At this time there should be a very clear message about social responsibility and renouncing to the use of tax havens. That should have been the responsible message from the president of the CEOE to all the companies that make up his organization. Enough of this kind of attitude," he concluded, visibly upset.

The CEOE's reproaches to Iglesias

Last Thursday, the CEOE launched a harsh statement accusing Iglesias of trying to "pressure" the organization after Podemos announced that a minimum vital income agreement of 500 euros was reached with the CEOE and the unions. The businessmen denied having participated in any negotiations. "In view of the self-serving manipulation and disloyalty to social dialogue and to Spain's employers, we feel pressured to support a party proposal," the CEOE said.

The business organization denied any negotiation with the government, and added that " while we share the view that no citizen can be left unattended during this economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, at no time have we been involved in the negotiation of such an initiative, nor has it been discussed in the social dialogue, as it has been reported in the media and social networks".

The anger between the CEOE has been evident in recent days, and the employers have rejected new contacts with Churches and Yolanda Díaz, members of Podemos. Such is the conflict that on Thursday it was the socialist vice-president of the Economy, Nadia Calviño, who took the reins of the dialogue with the employers. 

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