New labour reforms hit Spain

Spain’s new conservative government has begun to attack workers´ rights with a serious of brutal reforms.

Submitted by akai on February 13, 2012

On February 10, the government of Mariano Rajoy passed a series of reforms that will, among other things, make it easier and cheaper to fire workers, slash severance pay, introduce longer trial periods at work and force the unemployed to do public work.

The CNT-AIT issued the following press release:

Rajoy's Labour Reform: Another Brutal Attack against Workers' Rights
Making it cheaper to dismiss, creating new forms of trash contracts and making it easier for the companies to opt out of collective agreements, make collective redundancies and redundancy procedures, proposes measures to pressure ill workers not to take sick leave patients and creates more subsidies for employers. Beside this, it also promotes new standards to facilitate the dismissal of public sector staff.

After the Decree of 30 December 2011 which approved a drastic cut in public spending, raising income tax, the freezing of public employment ... and the subsequent and embarrassing agreement of CCOO, UGT and the CEOE on January 25, 2012, which established that in the coming years the workers would continue to lose purchasing power and that employers have much more power to change the working conditions of workers at will. We are now suffering this new attack by the government against the rights of workers.

Reform after reform, step by step, slowly but surely, big capital and the puppets who alternate as head of government to defend their interests (Gonzalez, Aznar, Zapatero, Rajoy) are continuing with plans to gradually dismantle the few rights us workers have left.

They had already announced that it would be an aggressive reform and indeed it is: this reform reduces redundancy pay for permanent contracts from 45 days per year and 42 months to a maximum of 33 days per year and 24 months and extends the reasons for dismissal with compensation of 20 days per year. Companies may benefit from this method by simply saying that they have been in a negative situation for three consecutive quarters. It establishes a new type of permanent contract, which has a trial period of one year. (During the trial period, the employer can fire you without compensation or the need to give any reason.) It largely deregulates the part-time contract (allowing part-time workers to be given overtime). It puts the vultures from the temporary employment agencies on a par with public employment services. It gives more power to employers to change working conditions; they can change working hours and apply functional mobility, even between different professional categories. It makes it easier for entrepreneurs to opt out of collective agreements and the automatic extension of the agreements shall not exceed two years. It makes collective redundancies easier: business no longer have to have authorization from the Administration for redundancy plans. Unemployed workers who receive benefits will have to perform work for the benefit of the community. Employers will have more power to control and pressure workers on sick leave. The system of job training will be modified. New recruitment bonuses will be established for employers. And as sole consideration for this whole series of measures against the workers, the indefinite use of consequtive temporary contracts, which had recently been approved the Zapatero government, will be prohibited.

In short, it is a reform that broadens and deepens the same failed measures of the Zapatero government. It is an insult to the intelligence to pretend that we believe that making it cheaper and easier to fire people can create jobs, or to stop the bleeding it is best to "resize the public sector" laying off thousands of workers, or that the best bet for job quality and modernization of collective bargaining is going back to the model of labor relations in the nineteenth century.

This reform not only will not help to create employment but will also produce more unemployment, precarity, lower salaries and a savage deterioration in working conditions.

It is an unjust reform, immoral and illegitimate which frontally attacks the most basic workers' rights. Therefore the CNT calls on all workers to rebel and struggle against this new agression.

Secretary of Press and Communication,