Martín Artiles, Antonio
Study examines SMEs
27 Oktober 2002
The findings of a survey of Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was published in summer 2002. It examines the nature of Spanish SMEs and how they adapt to a changing competitive environment, compared with similar firms in other EU countries. The issues covered include industrial relations and recruitment. Employers are optimistic about maintaining and creating jobs, but call for relations of cooperation and trust with workers.
SEAT moves 10% of Ibiza production to Slovakia
24 Oktober 2002
In September 2002, Volkswagen announced that it is to transfer 10% of the production of the Ibiza model from the SEAT plant in Martorell, Spain to Bratislava, Slovakia. It had earlier shifted Polo production to Slovakia. The company stated that the latest move was due to failure to reach agreement on increased working time flexibility with the Martorell workers' committee, though commentators also point to the attractions of Slovakia's low pay and qualified workforce. The trade unions represented on the workers' committee were divided over the strategy to adopt over management's flexibility demands.
Ericsson announces 700 redundancies
08 Oktober 2002
In September 2002, Ericsson, the Swedish-owned technology multinational, announced 700 job losses at its plants in Bilbao and Madrid, reducing its Spanish workforce by nearly 30%. The latest redundancies are part of a wave of workforce reductions affecting the telecommunications sector worldwide.
Unemployment and temporary employment increase
08 Oktober 2002
Figures for August 2002 confirm that overall unemployment in Spain (already the EU's highest) has started to rise, while year-on-year increases were recorded in the first eight months of the year, including August, which is traditionally a month of job creation. The high level of temporary recruitment continues and the level of open-ended recruitment remains practically unchanged.
Government toughens policy on labour immigration
23 September 2002
In autumn 2002, the Spanish government is seeking to introduce a tougher immigration policy and a reform of the Law on Foreign Persons. It aims to restrict the granting of residence permits for settled immigrants, reduce immigration for family reunification purposes and increase penalties for trafficking in labour and the recruitment of illegal immigrants. However, the evidence suggest that the government's current policy of quotas for immigrant workers has failed to control illegal immigration.
Fatal industrial accidents increase
10 September 2002
The number of fatal industrial accidents in Spain increased by 10% in the first half of 2002, compared with the same period in the previous year. The social partners and government disagree over the interpretation of the figures but are all concerned about the rise in fatal accidents at work. There is some debate over Spain's methodology for recording industrial accidents, compared with that used elsewhere in Europe.
National minimum wage is among lowest in EU
10 September 2002
According to a study published in July 2002 by the CC.OO trade union confederation, Spain's national minimum wage is one of the lowest in the European Union (only Greece and Portugal have lower rates), and represents only 40% of the average wage.
Controversy over government's unemployment benefit reform
01 Juli 2002
In May 2002, following the failure of negotiations with the social partners on the issue, the Spanish government approved a Royal Decree reforming unemployment benefit and public employment services. The aim of the measures is to mobilise the supply side of the labour market, in line with the European employment strategy. The reforms include making receipt of unemployment benefit subject to various job-seeking conditions. Trade unions responded by calling a general strike on 20 June.
Unemployment rises despite changes in calculation method
11 Juni 2002
May 2002 saw the publication of the findings of Spain's EPA labour force survey for the first quarter of 2002. This was the first set of EPA statistics since a number of methodological changes were made as part of a process of greater EU harmonisation. One major and controversial effect of the changes is to narrow the group of people considered as unemployed by the EPA, excluding some 500,000 people from the official figures. However, despite the statistical changes, there was a major rise in unemployment in the first quarter of 2002.
Homecare workers strike for collective agreement
09 Juni 2002
In April 2002, 500 homecare workers in the Spanish region of Catalonia went on strike in protest at the lack of progress in concluding a collective agreement for the sector and to call for improvements in pay and working conditions.