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Ciudadanos wants to axe temporary job contracts
CENTRE-RIGHT political party Ciudadanos – the fourth-largest in Spanish Parliament – wants to do away with temporary job contracts and launch a series of reforms including 'anti-crisis insurance' for the self-employed.
Party leader Albert Rivera says his team's proposed 'rucksack of rights' includes an insurance policy which will help prevent small businesses and the self-employed from having to shut up shop for good because they cannot pay redundancy money to employees during a recession.
The 'rucksack of rights' also offers financial assistance to companies who never, or rarely, sack staff or make them redundant.
Rivera's 'new professional model' and 'fight against job insecurity', as he refers to the proposals, would be a 'balanced, innovative and brave' law which would 'bring Spain in line with the rest of the EU', pointing out that the percentage of Spanish residents whose jobs are only temporary doubles that of the European average.
Only around 5.5% of new jobs created in recent years have been permanent, with contracts typically ranging from a few days to three or, at best, six months, and temporary jobs as a whole have risen by 56%.
Already, the European Commission has criticised Spain for failing to take action to resolve this and ensure permanent employment and job security is the norm, saying the Spanish government has 'not listened to or acted upon' Europe's recommendations.
Rivera has also criticised the right-wing PP-led government, and its immediate opposition, the left-wing socialists, or PSOE, for not having taken steps to improve working conditions over the last few years.
With pensioners up in arms after only getting a 0.25% annual increase – the minimum permitted by law – for the sixth year running, Rivera says the 'best possible pension reform' is to 'end job insecurity', since it would guarantee regular contributions in taxes and to the Social Security pot which would cover pension needs.
Ciudadanos' proposals essentially come in three categories: the first involves scrapping the long list of different types of job contract currently in existence, replacing them with one that does not expire – the only others permitted being those for work experience or training, 'internship contracts', and those for covering absent workers who are off sick, on maternity or paternity leave or other extended absences such as sabbaticals.
Rivera proposes that for all job contracts, the minimum redundancy payment should remain at 20 days' gross salary per year of employment, or 33 days for dismissals that could be deemed unfair.
Secondly, the 'rucksack of rights' seeks to give workers greater job security in general, including those who work for themselves rather than being employed by companies or the public sector.
Thirdly, Rivera proposes a 'stability bonus' for companies who 'make fewer redundancies or dismissals', which would come in the form of a discount on their Social Security payments.
“I'm convinced the majority of Spaniards are going to support this project,” Rivera says.
“The job situation in general in Spain right now is unacceptable and needs to be changed.
“For this reason, we've presented proposals in which nobody loses out, since redundancy pay extends to all workers.
“In 2017, a total of 21.5 million job contracts were signed, of which 20 million were temporary, or 93%, and Ciudadanos considers this a national emergency.”
Other party members say that if the draft law comes into force, it would mark 'a before and after' for Spain's labour market, which is 'regrettably well-known for its chronic unemployment and job insecurity', a situation that 'as yet, no political party has been capable of resolving' in order to provide workers with that security and certainty.
“The two 'old parties' [the PP and PSOE] have only ever produced sticking plasters, and now it's time for a completely new structure.
“Our proposal is competitive, innovative and offers security to everyone,” Ciudadanos concludes.
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