Spain’s labour reform: three years on

Revolting Europe

By Vicente Clavero*

Three years ago the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy pushed through its labour reform against despite big opposition. Most of the parliamentary groups and social forces rejected it, to no avail; well founded warnings about possible consequences were ignored too. The absolute parliamentary majority of the Popular Party meant the law got onto the statute book.

Businesses welcomed it as a godsend, as it allowed them to slash their workforces on the cheap, thanks to cut in the cost of layoffs and the fetters it put on trade unions too. And – they probably even they didn’t think of this one – the resulting deterioration in labour relations meant they could recruit new workers with worse conditions and at a substantially cheaper rate. Today, the government boasts that the reform of February 2012 has helped to stop the haemorrhage of employment and create jobs, but the reality…

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