Spain's unions launch move to halt labour reforms

30th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's two main unions Tuesday launched an initiative they hope will force parliament to debate and amend controversial labour reforms adopted this year.

The CCOO and the UGT, which staged a general strike on September 29 against the measures, launched a Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) which, if it receives at least half a million signatures, would force parliament to review the law.

"With this initiative we want to force the political parties to debate the labour reform," said CCOO secretary general Ignacio Fernandez Toxo.

The same type of procedure was used successfully by animal rights activists to force the regional parliament in Catalonia to pass a law in July that banned bullfighting.

The labour reforms are aimed cutting Spain's high cost of firing workers and giving companies more flexibility to reduce working hours and staff levels in economic downturns, in a bid to slash an unemployment rate of almost 20 percent.

The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has vowed there will be no reversal of the measures, which received final approval from parliament on September 9.

Spain's largest unions have also called new protests for December to try and force the government to reverse the measures.

Unions are also fighting steep spending cuts, including an average state employee salary reduction of five percent, and plans to gradually raise the retirement age to 67 from 65.

© 2010 AFP

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