Spanish and US labour ministers share their lines of work in favour of decent employment

​The Second Vice-President of the Government and Minister for Work and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, and the US Secretary of Labour, Martin J. Walsh, have held the first bilateral meeting between the two ministerial departments since they took up their posts as heads of labour policies in their respective countries.


​This meeting, which took place this afternoon by videoconference, plays a key role in the round of bilateral contacts that Díaz is holding with the heads of international organisations and with European and non-EU labour ministers to address shared challenges. The preponderant role of the US government in the international concert and Spain's historic relations with the American continent, added to its central position in the European framework, have made this meeting of great relevance for the present and future of the relationship between the two countries.


Yolanda Díaz praised Martin J. Walsh's personal career in defence of labour rights and reiterated her congratulations on his appointment, which she formally conveyed to him in March, following his nomination by President Biden.

Minimum Wage

Labour Secretary Walsh welcomed the increase in the minimum wage recently adopted by the Government of Spain.
The minimum wage means "more participation, more consumption, more money in people's pockets. It is a moral obligation to do so," Walsh said.
Minister Diaz stressed the importance of equity in terms of wages and explained that she has taken this measure following the recommendations of the Advisory Commission for the Analysis of the Minimum Wage promoted by the Ministry. The path adopted will lead, at the end of the legislature, to the Minimum Wage reaching 60% of the average wage in Spain, as recommended by the Revised European Social Charter, ratified by Spain last June.
Decent Work
The Minister for Work has reached out to develop joint work in the framework of international forums and in the bilateral sphere to work towards achieving the common goal of decent work based on decent wages, fair working conditions, greater health and safety at work and equality and non-discrimination, elements that she described as "inseparable from quality employment and essential for improving the social welfare of both countries."
Contributing to improving the lives of the citizens of Spain and the United States is now a higher priority than ever for the Government of Spain and the Biden administration in order to fairly overcome the economic and social effects of the pandemic, which the most vulnerable people, especially women and young people, have suffered most acutely.
Likewise, the minister informed the US Secretary of Labour, Martin J. Walsh, of the reforms to modernise the labour market. In particular, they had the opportunity to discuss the package of measures committed to with the European Commission, including, among others, collective bargaining, temporary employment, training contracts and subcontracting.
In this regard, the US Secretary of State and the Spanish minister shared the need for a balance of forces in social dialogue and therefore stressed the importance of having strong trade union organisations.
Social Dialogue
The Vice-President also explained the decisive role played by social dialogue as a tool for the effective and sustainable implementation of measures such as the protection of workers and the productive fabric through ERTEs, the rules governing remote work or distribution through platforms or pay transparency to fight for equality. These are some of the examples highlighted by Yolanda Díaz during the meeting.
The two have agreed that the teams of both departments will maintain a preferential channel of collaboration in which the issues discussed at today's meeting, including the evolution of the minimum wage, the economy on digital platforms, social dialogue and collective denial, will be dealt with bilaterally.


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