Wednesday, March 28, 2012

La Huelga

Tomorrow is the big Huelga here in Spain.

Also referred to as 29M, the syndicators of Spain has rallied together and called the nation to a nation-wide strike tomorrow protesting against the labor reforms the current government has/will be enacting.

I don't know too much about it, but I know that daily life in all of Spain will be affect by this strike.  Flights have been cancelled (thankfully not my own), the Metro is estimated to only function 30-35% of its normal capacity, and most all classes have been cancelled.

On campus, almost everything but the walls and chairs are spray painted with a large 29M in red or black, and everywhere you can see signs saying "LA HUELGA!" or "PARA VUESTRO FUTURO!" etc. etc. Spain and their leniency with the law never fails to surprise me.  This type of vandalism would never fly on Boston's campus.

I might get stoned for saying this, but from an Economic point of view (tainted with probably an Americanized bias), these labor reforms in general seem really necessary for the Spanish economy.  And as a college student who often fails to be well informed on the things of this world, I wonder if even half of the students who are rallying tomorrow will know exactly what they are protesting against. A colleague told me that the people are angry because these decisions were made only by the government and the businesses without discussing with the workers.  I don't know whether that is true or not, but in my humble opinion, even with these reforms, the workers in Spain benefit so much more than the workers in the U.S.

Let me give an example. If an employer wants to or needs to fire an employee, he/she needs a strong reason such as the employee comes to work naked or did something horrible. If such reasons don't exist, the employer is required to pay the employee he/she wants to fire 45 days worth of pay for every year the employee worked for the employer.

That is to say, if I wanted to fire an employee who has worked for me for 10 years because I needed to reduce the number of employees in my small business (which is not a good enough reason according to Spanish labor laws), I would have to pay 45 days of work multiplied the number of years the employee has worked for me. So in total I would have to pay 450 days worth of salary in one check if I want to fire this employee. !!! The reforms reduces this number from 45 days to 33 days.

Okay, it is only a small portion of the reforms, I'm sure, but either way, the workers here have it REALLLL nice.  A part of me wants to say, stop your whining.

Anyhoo, let's just hope that I can get to the airport tomorrow okay so I that I can be on my way to Paris to be reunited with one of my best friends.  YAY for Spring break! :)

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