Patronal Catalana is founded, an "apolitical" and "aggressive" entity that wants to make it free to sack workers

The association, which dissociates itself from any party, aims to reach 90,000 members to be able to part in collective bargaining

2 min
Pere Barrios, in an archive image.

Apolitical, aggressive and unapologetic. This is how Patronal Catalana defines itself, the new business entity presented this Thursday and which has set itself the objective of reaching 90,000 members. This would allow it to be considered a representative entity and, as such, to be a social agent that can, for example, participate in collective bargaining.

To achieve this, Patronal Catalana will not charge its members during the first year and then the fees will be €5 per year for the self-employed and €20 for companies.

The president of the new employer association is Pere Barrios, who lost the elections to lead SME association Pimec in February. He has chosen to create a new organisation because he believes the existing employer associations are "difficult to shift". To differentiate themselves, moreover, they will ask for "things that nobody has ever dared ask," as Barrios assured. Although Barrios's candidacy for Pimec was endorsed by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana, the businessman insisted that the new employers' association has no political ties: "We want to accommodate everyone and not put any limits on anyone.

Among Patronal Catalana's goals are to lower the cost of layoffs, "if possible, to zero". "Why should you compensate those who leave?", Barrios asked. Alternatively, if this is not viable, they defend the Austrian benefits model (a system according to which the company retains an amount of money each month for the worker; in case of dismissal, this amount becomes his or her unemployment benefit), as the Bank of Spain also defended recently.

Among the proposals they have put forward are "the free hiring of personnel for start-ups". Barrios has detailed that his idea would be that the unemployed (while collecting unemployment benefits) work in companies that need staff without them having to pay their salaries.

He has also been very belligerent against "trade union abuses" (he assures that workers' organisations create "labour castes") and against the "privileges of civil servants", among "many other things that nobody dares say", he remarked.