Spain: Right-wing MP’s voting error miraculously saves Sanchez government’s labor reform

Dropped by some of his allies, the leftist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez managed to save in extremis its reform of the labor market, Thursday, February 3, thanks to a voting error by a right-wing deputy. After long negotiations marked by reversals and then by a twist of fate, the government obtained a majority of one vote (175 against 174) in favor of its text, intended to reduce the precariousness of the Spanish employment market.

According to the right-wing People’s Party, it was one of its deputies who unwittingly swung the future of the reform: due to a “computer error”, the latter would have voted in favor of the text without subsequently being able to correct his choice. This error did not prevent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez from expressing his relief. “Spain has a new framework” Who “place dignity at the center (…) Thank you to the groups who supported this great agreement”he welcomed on Twitter.

In 2012, a reform adopted under the former conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was put in place to revive the Spanish economy, devastated by the financial crisis of 2008. According to its defenders, it allowed a sharp drop in the unemployment rate , which has fallen from nearly 27% in 2013 to 13.3% currently. But for its detractors, it has caused precariousness to skyrocket, with Spain holding the European record for the rate of temporary contracts.

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Negotiated for months with the unions and the employers, who defend a reform “balanced”the new text plans to limit the chaining of fixed-term contracts by hiring under permanent contracts “the rule and no longer the exception” and limits the use of subcontractors. It also prohibits the dismissal of civil servants for economic reasons, strengthens training and allows companies to temporarily derogate from the rules in force in times of crisis to avoid layoffs.

Entering into force on January 1, this reform had to obtain the green light from the deputies under penalty of remaining a dead letter. However, the negotiations proved more difficult than expected: the socialist party (PSOE), which governs with the radical left movement Podemos, but without a majority in parliament, failed to rally several of its traditional allies. This refusal forced Pedro Sanchez to seek the support of the liberals of Ciudadanos (centre-right) and the Catalan separatists of the PDeCAT, after having for a time hoped for the rallying of two deputies from the UPN (right), who finally made a mistake. jump.

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