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Labour market reform, Spain, unemployment

Must workers be sacrificed yet again for the good of Spain?

Vicente Clavero

Before they put him behind bars, accused of almost all crimes attributable to an employer, Gerardo Diaz Ferran, then president of the employers association CEOE, proclaimed without blushing that the only way out of this crisis was working more and earning less. Later, his prophecy was fulfilled, but only in part: the lucky ones who have managed to keep their jobs usually work more and earn less, but we’re still in the crisis up to our necks. Especially since, in addition to the fact that those who still have jobs earn less, the number of people who are working has decreased and there’s no economy in the world that can sustain that.

The governor of the Bank of Spain, Luis Maria Linde, said this week, however, new salary sacrifices were necessary and to get them, you have to squeeze, to its full potential, prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s labour reform. A labour reform that has emerged as a weapon of mass destruction of employment and is allowing entrepreneurs not only to fire more freely than ever, but also to substantially worsen working conditions.

This labour reform was recently the subject of a new apology by the ineffable Minister for Employment, who said it had had the supposed beneficial effect of reducing the rate of job destruction. Besides being small consolation in a country with nearly six million unemployed, Fatima Banez’s argument is simply wrong: the destruction of jobs, unfortunately, has not slowed down (in 2012 as many jobs were lost as in 2010 and 2011 put together) and if it had achieved this, it would not be thanks to the reform, but in spite of it.

The numbers speak for themselves: since its entry into force until December, there’s been a 56% rise in redundancy plans and the number of workers being laid off has increased 31.5%. Nor is it true, as the Government has been trying to claim about the reforms, that the number of collective redundancy plans leading to actual job losses – as opposed to temporary lay offs or a reduction in hours – has fallen. Rather, they increased by 21% over the period. Behold the (predictable) results of measures that have inflicted so much grief on labour relations in recent years.

El Publico 29 Mar 2013

Translation/edit by Revolting Europe

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Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


One thought on “Must workers be sacrificed yet again for the good of Spain?

  1. A large part of the problem in Spain is that social movements like the indignados and 15M fail to recognize the need to actually take part in politics. Sure, the social democratic PSOE shares many of the same policies as the conservative PP (who have a large majority and form the government). Refusing to support PSOE makes sense given their record in government, but what does not make sense is this stubborn refusal to become a ‘political’, as opposed to just a social, movement. The social movements in Spain have brought a lot of attention to the problems confronting the Spaniards, but, now, what is their solution? If the social movements are not able to articulate a clear programme for the working people then people will eventually become frustrated and this mass movement will become splintered. At the end of the day, politicians make the decisions regarding policy and by supporting nobody or refusing to become political they are giving the green light to the conservatives.

    Posted by crvenitalasenitalas | April 1, 2013, 12:34 pm

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