Antonio Garamendi has won this Wednesday the elections to the presidency of the CEOE employers’ association with 534 votes in favour, 83% of the total, and will continue for a second term of four more years at the head of the employers’ association.
Garamendi, who started as favourite, has retained the position against the candidacy of the vice-president of Foment del Treball, Virgina Guinda, who has received 87 votes, in an election in which a total of 643 people have participated (14 votes have been blank and 8 null).
Sitting together in the front row, Garamendi and Guinda listened to the result of the vote, after which the re-elected president went on stage and received a round of applause from all those present.
In his first words, Garamendi thanked the support received for “being your representative”, but made it clear that “this goes from the bottom up, from large, medium and small companies and the self-employed”.
“The most important thing is the word ‘unity’ and we have to come out of here united”, said the CEOE president to an assembly gathered in the National Auditorium in Madrid.
And the fact is that “when the conductor of the orchestra and all the instruments work together, is when it is unbeatable”, said the business leader, adding that “you have chosen me as the conductor of the orchestra and the note must be played well”.
He also recalled the intensity of the last four years of work, both internally and externally, with numerous agreements signed with the government and trade unions, thanks to which “millions of workers and thousands of companies that would have closed down have been able to move forward”.
“SITTING AT THE TABLE DOES NOT MEAN HAVING TO REACH AGREEMENTS”
Thus, he valued the unity, moderation and independence that characterises the employers’ association, but also the consensus because “if we don’t reach agreements, what are we for, even if we have to say ‘no’ when it’s time”, he pointed out.
“Negotiations with the government are still open,” Garamendi told the media at the end of the event after being asked about the pension reform.
But “the fact that we are sitting down does not mean that we are going to reach agreements. We have not left the table at any time, but we do not agree on certain approaches”, he warned.
In his speech to the assembly, Garamendi also referred to the latest tax measures announced by the government, such as those that will tax energy and financial companies, describing them as “à la carte taxes that generate legal uncertainty and regulatory instability”.
“And lately we are also seeing that there is no quality in the regulation”, he added, in a clear allusion to the problems that the “only yes is yes law” is facing.
And when questioned about the movements of Foment del Treball, Garamendi stressed to journalists that “nobody is redundant here”, but underlined the institutional respect that the organisation deserves.
“Foment del Treball out? Under no circumstances”, stressed the leader of the employers’ association, which is due to hold a meeting on 21 December to close the steering committee.
Virginia Guinda presented her alternative candidacy on 8 November, after discarding other names that sought to make visible the dissatisfaction of some territories and sectors with Garamendi.
After the result was announced, Guinda told the media that “it is desirable that there should be more internal debate” in the employers’ association and thanked those who had opted for her candidacy for their support.
The assembly was not attended by representatives of the government or the trade unions, as it was an internal event.