The fourth vice-president of the Government of Spain and minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, and the minister for Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, have signed today, April 17, and electronically, an agreement that consolidates the bases of the Fair Transition Agreements, together with representatives of the companies that own closing coal thermal power plants, Endesa, Iberdrola and Naturgy, and of the general secretariats of the CCOO-Industria and UGT-FICA unions.
The priority action focuses are the maintenance of employment in the territories and their economic and industrial revitalization, linked to the deployment of renewable energy and other projects.
"I appreciate the shared responsibility with the regional and local administrations and the social agents, and the efforts of all parties to continue working and defining the just transition framework by signing this tripartite agreement," said Vice President Teresa Ribera.
From the General State Administration (AGE) the pact implies the creation of a framework for monitoring the workers involved, through the Public Information System of Public Employment Services (SISPE), in addition to specific training plans and measures relocation oriented, among other issues.
The signatory companies undertake to develop support plans for the affected areas, taking advantage of the opportunities associated with the different business lines identified for each territory. Similarly, they will work to maintain employment by relocating direct jobs and prioritizing the hiring of workers from auxiliary companies.
The commitment of companies, unions and Administration in the collective search for future solutions for these areas is especially necessary in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
This agreement is in addition to the action protocols that the central Executive is signing with the autonomous governments and the municipalities linked to the thermal power plants in the process of closing for the execution of Transition Agreements. The Agreements will include the specific projects that will be supported in each area, the accompanying financing and a follow-up program of what has been agreed. The first step for its elaboration is the launch of a participatory process in the different transition zones. At the moment they are being carried out electronically, in compliance with the measures adopted to stop the COVID-19 outbreak.
Commitments of the Central Administration
Under the agreement signed today, the Ministries of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and of Labor and Social Economy will offer support for the implementation of Transition Agreements and the maintenance of employment for affected workers, through training and plans insertion.
Both Ministries commit to work in the proactive search for investors with projects that can be located in the affected areas, always taking into account the characteristics and particularities of each territory.
The characteristics of each area will also be considered when assessing the opportunities that arise in the field of energy policy, favoring the implementation of business initiatives related to this activity. Among the tools that can be activated in this regard, MITECO will be able to offer, through procedures such as competitions, the granting of network access permits for new renewable projects in the geographical areas where the closure processes of coal-fired power plants take place , as established by the Royal Decree-Law 17/2019, of November 22, of urgent measures to promote a just energy transition. Similarly, specific renewable energy auctions may be held in these areas.
These tools will be included, where appropriate, in the Fair Transition Agreements of each territory. In addition, the Fair Transition Agreements will include the measures that both the National Employment System (SNE) as the employment services of the Autonomous Communities will offer workers in the affected areas. The objective is to offer them specific support for their reintegration into the new business projects included in the Agreements. Thus, the agreement signed today includes the identification through SISPE of the workers of the thermal power plants and their auxiliary companies as a special group linked to the Fair Transition Agreements. This identification will allow monitoring the evolution of the employment exchanges of each Agreement and the possibility of designing complementary actions that improve employability.
To these measures will be added the support plan for vocational training and job placement for workers in the affected areas orchestrated through an agreement to be signed between the Public State Employment Service (SEPE) and the announced Just Transition Institute (current IRMC), which will provide financing for the adaptation of the training plans to the demand for new profiles.
Commitments of companies and unions
The companies that own the coal power plants in the process of closing have submitted, to the signing of this agreement, a support plan that includes a proposal for new investments in the same territories, related to business opportunities in generation using renewable energy or other lines of business when feasible.
They contemplate the design of relocation plans for own personnel and the priority of hiring workers from auxiliary companies in tasks related to new activities and the dismantling and restoration of plants.
The companies will lend their support in the proactive search for other investors and will participate in the preparation of the Fair Transition Agreements, to which they will be able to contribute their knowledge of the business reality of the territory. They will also collaborate, through specific actions, in the support plan for vocational training and job placement to guarantee the improvement of the employability of workers in new activities.
For their part, in order to carry out the Fair Transition Agreements, the unions undertake to facilitate compliance and follow-up of commitments in matters of training, prevention of occupational risks, re-industrialization and disclosure, as well as all those that may be added in achieving the objectives of this agreement.
As agreed by the parties, a Monitoring Commission will be created to ensure compliance with the agreement and which will be made up of an identical number of representatives of the AGE, companies and union organizations. It will meet every 6 months in an ordinary way to know the details related to the progress of the agreement, and in an extraordinary way whenever one of the parties requests it.
Fair Transition Agreements
The priority objective of these Agreements is the maintenance and creation of activity and employment in the regions affected by the closure of coal-fired power plants, through accompaniment to sectors of activity and groups at risk, the establishment of population in the territories and promoting diversification and specialization of economic activity in accordance with the socioeconomic context. They represent the materialization of the Strategy for Just Transition, which is part of the Energy and Climate Framework.
The mission of the Strategy, which has followed in its preparation the guidelines of the International Labor Organization (ILO), is to take advantage of the endogenous resources of the territory, be they economic, social or environmental, and to attract investments, betting primarily on sectors that present better sustainability results, both environmental and economic and social.
The Agreements include a participatory process of mobilization and consultation for their elaboration; the characterization, diagnosis and socioeconomic and infrastructure analysis of the areas affected by the closings; and, when they have occurred, the evaluation of plans and initiatives, guaranteeing the centralization of communication and information among all those involved in the projects as well as the identification of possible investments, actions and projects for the reactivation of the areas, the analysis of its feasibility and a proposed action plan.
At the moment, work is being done on the preparation of all this documentation and participatory processes have already been activated, electronically, in Aragon, Suroccidente, Valle de Nalón and Valle del Caudal, all of them in the Principality of Asturias. Participatory processes will begin shortly in the remaining areas: Leonesas Central Mountains -La Robla; Guardo-Velilla; Villablino and El Bierzo; and Garoña, in Castilla y León; Meirama and As Pontes, in Galicia; Puente Nuevo and Carboneras, in Andalusia; and Zorita, in Castilla-La Mancha.