You have free access to all Observer articles by being our subscriber.
The national minimum wage should be 1,000 or even 1,200 euros per month, defended the businessman and manager Alexandre Relvas, a figure that is higher than what the Government has already announced to reach by 2025 — 850 euros. This increase in the minimum wage should be accompanied by changes in labor legislation, which he did not identify, and by the reinforcement of social support to guard against a possible increase in unemployment, said the former administrator of Logoplaste this Tuesday at a conference on the budget proposals for 2022, carried out by the office of Rogério Fernandes Ferreira e Associados.
The declarations about the national minimum wage were made in a context in which Alexandre Relvas defended the need for “a management shock” that would allow the business class to reinvent itself in terms of management philosophy. Recalling that there are about 900,000 workers in Portugal who are at the minimum wage level, the manager considers that the significant increase in the minimum wage would work as an exogenous factor that would “force companies to react to survive”.
For the businessman, who is an administrator and shareholder of Logoplaste and Observador, the business confederations should promote the discussion on the acceleration of the increase in the minimum wage, as long as there is compensation at the level of labor legislation. Alexandre Relvas admitted, however, that he had doubts about the application of this increase to the social sector that practices the minimum wage a lot and that works as an important cushion in the provision of social services.
In a presentation whose theme was the competitiveness of companies and the challenges, the entrepreneur warned of the excessive number of companies in Portugal, of which only a relatively small percentage is operational, and of their small size. And he called for the need to streamline bankruptcy legislation and create tax and financial incentives for corporate restructuring.
The intervention began by trying to answer the question: “Why have we hardly grown in the last 20 years?”. Alexandre Relvas pointed out two main factors: the lack of qualification of human resources (despite the “remarkable” work in recent years); and the “bad” allocation of resources (whether from European funds or from debt incurred by the State and economy). The result of this bad allocation is that the State absorbs 45% of the Gross Domestic Product, the tax burden has risen to 35%, and 15% of the active population are public employees with lower productivity, with the average labor productivity stagnating and is between the lowest in the European Union.
The priorities and projects of the Recovery and Resilience Plan reinforce this trend, just as left-backed state budgets focus on income distribution. For the entrepreneur, the main objective must be “wealth creation” and the basis of wealth creation must be companies. But companies are heavily indebted and undercapitalised, he acknowledges, with a very low capital-to-employee ratio.
The manager highlighted positive aspects that Portugal has, such as the quality of infrastructure, which resulted from public investment (although this was not concerned with productivity) and a good business environment that attracts international companies. He praised the potential of the new generations of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who look to the global market and highlighted the structural change in the Portuguese economy that raised the weight of exports in GDP to around 45%, considering that there is potential to strengthen this component.
Alexandre Relvas also left two messages — one more political for the left: “Don’t spoil what exists” and it was made in the labor reform and in the sustainability of Social Security. And another for the business confederations CIP (Business Confederation of Portugal), CAP (Confederation of Farmers of Portugal) and CCP (Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal), which, he argues, should have an agenda of priorities and economic proposals to discuss with the political forces: “What do the CIP, CAP and CCP defend that has marked the country?”, he asked.