Today the leaders of Spain’s two largest trade unions CC.OO. and UGT will visit the Ministry of Work and Immigration to register the date for a general strike. The strike will be called for 29th September, two days before the reforms to Spain’s labour laws will be finalized in the Spanish parliament.
The main reasons why the strike has been organized are the latest measures introduced to reduce Spain’s budget deficit and the much criticised reforms to labour laws. Negotiations between the government and the trade unions broke down on 10th June following a ten hour meeting which ended in deadlock.
Just six days later before parliament broke up for the summer vacation the reforms passed the preliminary stages in parliament. The main bone of contention is the reduction of 33 days compensation to 20 days for workers who are made redundant due to their companies experiencing economic difficulties. The unions believe that the proposed reforms damage workers rights.
The unions have also criticised the proposed reforms which will reduce from 100 to 30 days the time in which people receiving unemployment benefit can refuse to do training courses without being penalized.
On Thursday this week the proposed reforms will begin their final journey through parliament. However it will not be until the end of the month when José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will have to deal with a general strike which he has tried to avoid at all costs.
The strike will coincide with the government’s announcement on next year’s spending plans as well as the last days of Celestino Corbacho as Minister for Work and Immigration, a post which he has occupied since 2008.
The general strike on 29th September will be the fifth in Spanish history and the fourth during a socialist mandate in Parliament.