Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Labour Protest - the not so glamourous side of Barcelona

I'm all for peaceful protest but no protest here in Barcelona is every civil. There is always broken glass, fires,  graffiti and more. This particular day was to protest the changes to the labour reform law passed by Zapatero last June reducing the severance pay from 45 days for every year worked to 35 days. The retirement age was also changed from 65 to 67. The thought behind this was to encourage more jobs in the economy as the old system proved that employers were scared to fire long time employees for whatever reason (effectiveness, incompetency or whatever), because the employer would be subject to pay a high severance. Once the recession hit employers were also not willing to hire new employees. If they did they offered short term contracts to avoid any severance pay issues, leaving the youth with no social security or protection. Of course the view of the labour movements is that this law benefits the employer and not the employees. This was a decision by the Spanish government to reduce the high unemployment rate. So I does a labour strike affect the economy of a country in the middle of a recession with a 20% unemployment rate and a 40% unemployment rate among youth and the highest unemployment rate in the euro zone?

Read more about the labour reform here:

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