Spain approves labor reform only with socialist vote

09:20, June 23, 2010      

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Spain's socialist government headed by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero approved its controversial labor reform law in Parliament on Tuesday.

Given the abstention of the main opposition party, the Popular Party (PP), as well as Catalan nationalists Convergencia i Uinio ( CiU) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the government passed the new bill with the sole support of the Socialist Party (PSOE). The new bill will have the status of a law-project and will be subject to future amendments.


The reform bill seeks to increase the number of indefinite contracts, to harden the conditions for hiring temp workers and to cheapen lay-offs. From now on, employers will have to pay 33 days for every year of work, which will translate into cheaper lay-offs in practice. This was previously opposed by the government, but the economic crisis has forced the government to make some drastic changes to its social policy.

As predicted, the bill's approval has provoked all kinds of reactions. Minister of Work Celestino Corbacho defended the new scheme during the parliamentary debate by claiming that the new labor reform scheme "does not cheapen lay-offs," nor does it " restrict workers rights," an interpretation none of the remaining political groups shared.

All left-wing parties voted against the reform, viewed as " regressive." In turn, the PP referred to this bill as "the lay-off bill." Its parliamentary spokeswoman, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said that Spain does need a new labor reform, but the government's plan will not generate

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