Spanish labour reform ‘on a good track’, says minister

Spanish Labor Minister, Yolanda Diaz. [EPA-EFE / RODRIGO JIMENEZ]

Reform of the labour law is “on a good track”, Social Economy Minister Yolanda Díaz stressed on Monday, adding that it can be approved before the end of the year, as agreed with the European Commission.

Díaz, of left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can), partner of the socialist party (PSOE) in the coalition government, said there is no doubt that the text of the new law will be approved and published in the Spanish Official State Gazette (BOE) before 31 December, as agreed with Brussels, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the centre-right Partido Popular (Popular Party, PP) approved the controversial Labour Market Reform in February 2012. It focused on the collective bargaining system and strongly impacted dismissal costs and procedures.

On 3 November, the government agreed to repeal the law after solving a bitter row between Díaz and Finance Minister Nadia Calviño over the scope of the reform.

The reform of the labour legislation was one of the pre-conditions agreed between Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the European executive to disburse the money of the EU Next Generation fund.

Although Spain has been allocated €140 billion over the next six years from the €750 billion EU recovery fund, critics, mainly of the PP, far-right Vox, and centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens), have accused the government of being unable to manage the funds effectively.

“There is no doubt about it. If you look at component 23 (of the National Recovery Plan sent to Brussels to receive the EU funds), practically all the milestones have been met”, Díaz stressed on Monday in Brussels where she attended a meeting of EU labour ministers.

The minister told EFE that the draft bill is “one of the greatest reforms in our country, which is the employment law and all the strategies linked to active employment policies”, the minister told EFE.

Spain’s main trade unions, UGT and Comisiones Obreras, gave their green light to the draft bill, but the employers association (CEOE) rejected it. However, the government remains confident an agreement will be reached, including with the CEOE, Díaz added.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

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