May 24, 2012
Protests in Spain
I'm teaching International and Comparative Employment Law this summer in Madrid. It's a great time to be here in part because of events surrounding the Eurozone crisis and the economic debates about how to pull out of it. In connection with the European summit talks in Brussels that just ended, there were a couple of protests in Madrid today. One protesting the changes to labor rights that will make it easier to terminate employees and the other protesting austerity measures cutting education. It's hard to see from my bad pictures, but the protests were really large, and well organized, and there was significant enthusiasm from the crowds, too. These workers take labor rights very seriously.
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I am all for labor rights, but when you have system that does not allow even small businesses to dismiss a worker during hard times that is ridiculous. It also equals the large unemployment #s is Spain. How can you hire new workers when you know you're stuck with them no matter what happens. That is counter productive. My father owned a small business in Spain for over 30 years and this law led to the end of his business and the unemployment of 10 people. Two of them were still on the payroll but had no work to do, so they sat there all day reading the newspaper. Does this make sense to you? They can protest all they want but these changes may lead to more jobs down the line!
Posted by: LBF | May 28, 2012 12:35:38 AM
That's certainly part of the argument in favor of the changes, at least for the changes to the law on terminations. I don't know about the educational cuts. That's the argument that was driving the protests in France too a few years ago. Frankly, even outside of the interests of the businesses that employ people, as your post suggests, there seem to be labor issues on both sides in a European sense. People entering the labor market or not in it for some other reason have a strong interest in access to jobs, while those in jobs have a strong interest in keeping them. Maybe these changes move more towards a compromise.
Posted by: Marcia | May 31, 2012 1:31:29 AM