Last month unemployment rose by 130,930 to a total of 4,231,000 which is the highest figure since records began in 1996. From January to December unemployment rose by 3.2% which is more than during the same period last year when unemployment rose by 124,890.
The figures are available on the same day that the government will celebrate the signing of the ‘social pact’ with business representatives and the trade unions. The most important aspect of the social pact is the changes it makes to the law relating to pension rights in Spain. The Secretary of State for Employment, Mari Luz Rodríguez, released a statement saying that the unemployment figures were ‘negative but that certain parts of the social pact were aimed at changing active policies with regards to employment and would contribute positively to confronting the problems faced by the unemployed offering them preparation and economic protection’.
Spain’s main opposition party, the PP, has decided to support the government’s social pact, one of the most significant policies introduced by Jose Luis Zapatero’s socialist government of seven years.
It is ones of the biggest pacts in Spanish history and has been compared to the Moncloa Pacts signed in 1977 during Spain’s transition period to democracy following the death of Franco and the end of the dictatorship. However, the PP has declined to attend the Moncloa Palace today where business representatives and trade unionists along with government ministers will attend an act celebrating the agreement.
The PP has made it clear that although it was prepared to help the social pact during its passage through parliament it only did this as an act of responsibility. Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said that the PP had not been included in the negotiation process and that any information they had on the pact had been obtained via a website.