Trade unions propose measures for unemployed people

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In January 1998, both the UGT and CC.OO trade union confederations proposed measures aimed at improving the situation of unemployed people in Spain. UGT has proposed the creation of a branch for unemployed people within the trade union and CC.OO has suggested lower taxes for them.

Both of Spain's main trade union confederations have attempted to take note of the warning of the recent unemployed protests in France (FR9801189F) by presenting, in January 1998, proposals aimed at unemployed people.

The General Workers' Confederation (Union General de Trabajadores, UGT), which is preparing its next federal congress to be held in March 1998, has proposed the creation of a special branch for unemployed people to give them an organisational platform, reinforce their relations with the trade unions and seek new ways of reaching them.

Up to now, members of UGT and other unions who lose their jobs remain affiliated to the corresponding federation. However, UGT considers that there is a need for an organisational platform that allows unemployed people to organise themselves collectively within the union. Although Spanish legislation does not permit the constitution of specific unions for unemployed people, it does authorise the creation of associations for them. In fact, there are some specific associations for unemployed workers in the catering sector and amongst those over the age of 40, but there is no organ of collective representation for unemployed people at national level. Therefore, the constitution of such a branch to provide them with representation at national level will be one of the questions for discussion at the next UGT congress.

The proposal from the Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CC.OO) is similar to the demand made by unemployed people in France: lower taxes and lower prices for public services. This measure had already been proposed on previous occasions but has taken on new importance in view of the rallies and protests by French unemployed people and the forthcoming negotiations on the "national employment plan" in Spain (ES9712235F). Consultations began in January 1998 for drawing up this plan, which must be presented to the EU by May, and the unions have announced that they will ask the Government to take urgent measures to tackle the problem of unemployment.

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