Spanish Congress passes controversial labor reform bill

The Spanish Congress on Thursday approved the labor reform bill put forward by the Socialist (PSOE) government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The move brought an end to the process that began June 16 when Zapatero's government passed the controversial reform bill by a Royal Decree without the support of any other political parties.

The main feature of the bill was to reduce the amount of compensation that has to be paid to a worker who loses his job.

Previously workers were entitled to 45 days compensation for every year they had spent with their employer. That has now been reduced to 33 days, although in some cases it is now as low as just 20 days if the company can show..."current or future losses or that there is a consistent reduction in its levels of income."

Zapatero advised that the positive effects of the measures, which are aimed at stimulating employment, "will not be seen for various months."

Meanwhile, Spain's unions are preparing for a general strike that has been called for Sept. 29 to protest what they see as an attack on workers' rights.

[Source: Xinhua, Madrid, 09Sep10]

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