Friday, March 05, 2010

The Contract To End All Contracts

Do you remember all that talk of how unfair the Spanish labour market is with some workers enjoying protection whilst others are condemned to work on a series of temporary contracts? This, in theory, is a problem which the government in Spain is currently attempting to address via negotiations with employers and trade unions.

So the other day a leading member of the employers association presented a make the labour market even more unfair. For some it seems to be too much to take that workers under 30 should be able to enjoy any kind of employment protection, and the proposal was for a special contract for this age group that would deny them any right to compensation on dismissal and would also not include the possibility of claiming unemployment benefit.

The storm that this suggestion provoked led to a hasty retraction by the employers, who claimed that it was just an "example". Presumably one to put alongside being a galley slave. I wonder whether they would want to charge for the chains? What the employers, led by the exemplary Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, are trying to achieve is open to debate. Some believe that they simply want to torpedo negotiations that won't give them the result they want, in the hope that a future Partido Popular government might compensate them for joining the opposition.

There is a reasonable chance, given the pressure on the Spanish government at the moment, of changes favourable to their interests being made to the employment legislation. But these changes are likely to involve little more than making an already existing, but little used contract, the new standard for future contracts. What is clear is that the employers are seeking much more, and their miserable vision of the future Spanish labour market is one of low pay and maximum insecurity for all. No amount of rhetoric about the unfairness of the dual labour market or the even more fantastic talk of a highly skilled and trained workforce is likely to change this perception.


Xoán-Wahn said...

I don't understand why temporary contracts are so prevalent here. They make sense in restaurants and other parts of the tourism industry but when the municipal govts start hiring people on temporary contracts with the intended purpose of firing them after three months regardless of how good they are at their jobs, something is wrong.

Graeme said...

I'm not sure why they would be so common in local government, iy may be something to do with avoiding oposiciones, and also in some cases just because they have one-off projects which last a limited amount of time.

Pueblo girl said...

"examples" seem to abound in politics here recently.