Call for referendum over changes to Spanish constitution

Two of Spain’s largest trade unions Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) have spoken out against the planned reforms to the Spanish constitution which have been rushed through parliament with the support of the opposition party. Thay have accused the government of acting in an underhand way and have insisted that a referendum should be held over reforms to the constitution. Ignacio Fernández Toxo (CCOO) said that the agreement between the government (PSOE) and the PP was a result of pressure from France and Germany. Both the CCOO and UGT have denounced the reforms saying that Spanish citizens have been denied the chance to discuss the changes to the constitution. Toxo has asked all parliamentary groups to vote against the reforms in protest and in a call for a referendum. He said that ‘not to do this would be to damage democracy’. He said that the proposed changes ‘would not resolve existing problems and would generate new ones’. The trade unions believe that the changes to constitution could lead to more cuts in public services which is why both UGT and CCOO have announced dates for protests.

The first is planned for 17th September in Poland to protest against the meeting of Ecofin when trade unions from all over the EU will protest against the way their governments have handled the economic crisis. In addition they have called for a protest on 6th October in which there will be rallies all over Spain organized by the trade unions followed by protests in the afternoon in ‘defence of workers’ rights’. However a general strike has been ruled out for the time being. The leader of the UGT, Cándido Méndez, has also spoken out against the new work contracts designed by the government calling it the ‘Frankenstein version of the German model’. He referred to it as a badly designed contract which would not solve the problems of youth unemployment.

Fernández Toxo also said that the new law which allows businesses to replace one temporary contract with another would not lead to an increase in the number of jobs available or improve the quality of employment in Spain. Both trade unions have warned against the collapse in economic growth at global levels adding that ‘express reforms to the constitution would not help bring solutions to Spain’.