Curiosity in Spain’s parliament: Voting span brings reform on the way
Curiosity in Spain’s Parliament
Voting breakdown sets reform in motion
2/4/2022 7:52 am
It is a success for Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing government: it gets its labor market reform through the Spanish parliament with a narrow majority. This is apparently made possible by a voting error by a conservative opposition politician. His party blames the technology – and calls for a correction.
A voting error by a member of parliament from the opposition saved the labor market reform of Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez through parliament. The left-wing government received a narrow majority of 175 votes in favor of 174 against its bill. According to the opposition Partido Popular (PP), it was one of its MPs who cast the decisive yes vote. However, it is a “computer error”.
Conservative party spokeswoman Cuca Gamarra called for “this vote to be corrected.” Nonetheless, Pedro Sánchez welcomed the passage of his reform on Twitter: “Spain has a new framework for industrial relations that puts the dignity of work at its core.”
The reform came into force by decree at the beginning of the year after the government, employers and trade unions had agreed on it after intensive negotiations at the end of last year. However, the package still needed parliamentary approval to be given permanent law status.
Reform is a condition for EU funds
The reform almost failed: the Socialists led by Sánchez, who govern in a minority government with the radical left Podemos, were unable to win over several of their traditional allies. The Basque nationalist and pro-independence parties of the PNV and EH Bildu parties and the Catalan separatists of ERC voted against, as did the conservative PP and the far-right Vox.
The Liberals of Ciudadanos and small regional groups like the pro-independence Catalan PDeCAT, who are normally in opposition, voted in favour. In the end, however, the vote of a PP deputy was decisive.
Passing the labor market reform is one of the conditions Brussels had set for the disbursement of funds from the EU stimulus package, of which Spain will be one of the main beneficiaries, with €140 billion.
The Sánchez government was under a lot of pressure, having promised to reverse a controversial 2012 labor market reform by the Conservatives. Although this was one of the reasons why the unemployment rate halved from almost 27 percent in 2013 to 13.3 percent today, it caused great uncertainty: Spain holds the European record for fixed-term contracts.
The legislative package that has now been passed limits the chaining of fixed-term contracts and makes open-ended contracts the rule rather than the exception. It also bans the dismissal of civil servants for economic reasons, strengthens workers’ training and allows companies to temporarily suspend current regulations in times of crisis to avoid redundancies.