this was Spain in 2011

The labour reform It is on the lips of all these weeks. The Government has proposed to repeal it as it is one of the conditions agreed with Podemos to form an Executive and unblock the situation that existed in Parliament. Therefore, it seems that there will be no other.

The 2011 labor reform, launched by the Government of Rajoy as one of the conditions imposed by the EU to give us the famous ‘soft bailout’ it was very very controversial. The conditions it presented for the labor market turned the total situation upside down at that time.

Above all, because it made dismissal more accessible, something that scared everyone at the time when unemployment kept growing because we were immersed in the middle of the financial crisis. In addition, it gave more power to employers and favored their position over that of the worker.

Therefore, Podemos wants to end it at all costs and return to what it was in 2011, but, Is this convenient? Will it serve to end with the 3 million unemployed what do we still have?

What can happen if the labor reform is repealed

Let’s put ourselves in context. In 2011 unemployment in Spain closed at about 23%, with 5.2 million unemployed. A figure that was growing in 2012. But it was already a very bad figure that placed us together with Greece as the ‘ugly duckling’ of the EU as far as the labor market was concerned.

Other countries were also destroying jobs, but not at our level, for reasons that we have already touched on many times (dependence on tourism, temporality, little industry, low training of many workers, etc.).

Now, 10 years later, and also after a very large and unexpected crisis, we have managed in just one year to reduce the unemployment left by COVID in 2020 (3.7 million at the end of the year) in half a million people, and all this without touching the reform of 2011. Therefore, many wonder if right now, in full recovery, it is convenient to touch things.

Above all, because although the reform of Rajoy made firing … and hiring easier, and that is now very convenient.

What would change then? Well again the sectoral agreement would have primacy over the company, something key to negotiate, for example, salaries. And considering that the minimum wage is higher than ever and is expected to rise, this can be a barrier when hiring.

Secondly, work and service contracts, that now they have a maximum of one year, they will be able to be renewed with much more periodicity, something that really conceals permanent hiring and makes workers more precarious.

The compensation They were also in the eye of the hurricane, especially in permanent contracts, although the changes were hardly noticed. In addition, companies had more internal flexibility capacity to change Labor conditions such as schedules, work organization, etc.

Therefore, we are talking about a reform that managed to lower unemployment by more than two million people since it was approved, even though in theory it was going to be a job-destroying machine.

Should we be concerned about its repeal? Even without knowing what text will come out of the Ministry led by Yolanda Díaz, it is more than certain that all this reality will return to that of 2011, with greater worker protectionism that prevents business flexibility. Something that, in the midst of a change in the economic system that advocates precisely for flexibility and rapid adaptability, can be a risk for a market that is already as inflexible as ours.


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