jueves, 28 de junio de 2012


When unemployment rates are next to 25% lots of employers take advantage of the widespread anxiety about getting a job. The lack of political will of the Spanish government to stop this practice –quite the opposite- and the union’s weakness in the most of SME make easier abusing of jobseekers or workers. Let‘s see some samples.

The Journalist’s Association (AJ) published a manifesto some weeks ago denouncing the precarious working conditions of Spanish journalist. The association point out a large number of cases. The TV production company responsible of the program “Late or soon” (25th TV, Barcelona) don’t pay for their programmes. In fact, the people interested in working for them have to pay 300 €. The firm argues that the programme is a very good stepping stone to be known all over the country. Fortunately, the most of media pay their workers.  So AJ underlines the case of a well known newspaper that pays 0’75€ for every short article. Not bad at all!

Carlos III University is one of the most prestigious university in Spain nevertheless has budgetary problems as many others in the country.  But the managers of the “UC3m” seem to have found a solution to the lack of money imposed by both central and regional governments. We mean the new contract of “Honorary Professor”. This new kind of Profs will have teaching, correct exams or advise students… for free. However the university fees to be paid for students have been increased.

Some weeks ago press agencies echoed the situation of a Brazilian immigrant in Coruña, the most important Galician city. He had been working as a waiter, 12 hours working time and no days-off in the last year only for tips. His boss owns several bars and restaurants in the city.

Recently “Pericial Selección & Headhunting” posted an “outplacement advisor” job vacancy at the specialised site web “Infojobs”.  Applicants should previously to take a three weeks training course given by the company. The most diligent attendant would win the job (no information about what kind of labour contract, salary, working time…). By the way! 950 € was the training course fee to be paid for every applicant.  That’s a new example of how employers abuse of desperate jobseekers.

Everybody living or working in Spain knows or suffers for these working conditions. One month ago the (very good up to now) state radio station “Radio Nacional de España” devoted a program to the plague of abusive job vacancies.  Nobody was astonished when a hotel asked for a Ph. D. in French, German or English philology to be hired as a receptionist and a 500 € monthly salary  As well as quite often part-time contracts hide more than 9 effective working hours.

That’s the reality of a country accused by the European Commission and the IMF of having a very rigid and expensive labour market.

  • "Let’s see! Neither intermediaries nor unions! Let’s agree you and me freely your working conditions!"
  • "Yes sir!"
(“El Roto” is one of the best known Spanish cartoonists)

miércoles, 13 de junio de 2012


Everybody knows the crazy meal times in Spain. In the future perhaps we’ll talk about this custom and we’ll be able to find out that it is not as traditional as most of people believe.

Spanish meal times have a direct relation with primary school timetables. Usually classes starts at 9 AM and by 1 PM there are a two hours (!!!)  break to have lunch.  After that kids start again their work till 4 or 5 PM.  Such a long lunch break is not only used to eat but also to follow the so-called “out-of-school activities” (even whether the activities take place at the school) as chess or foreign languages courses or simply they play different sports.  But we’ll focus our attention on having lunch at school.

Catering firms are usually in charge of feeding kids at school. Parents have to pay this service -used for most of the children- even in free state schools.  But things are changing due to the current economic crises because an increasing number of parents can’t afford pay the bill. Let’s see the three most habitual situations.

First of all I’ll tell you my own experience. Some weeks ago I attended a Parent’s Association meeting at the school where my son studies. I think interesting underline that it’s a middle-class lay school where most of parents (both members of the couple) used got a job (may be now one or both of them are unemployed). This kind of meetings often was devoted to inform about the academic guidelines or activities of the school but this time a new item was introduced in the agenda. We were warned that a significant number of people didn’t pay the catering bill. The school board had decided not to prevent any child to have lunch up to now but such a level of non-payments was unsustainable.

We can find two more expressions of the same problem. As a result of the increasing difficulty to pay school catering services lot of children bring their own lunch from home.  The problem is that there are not foreseen place to this sort of lunch: school canteens are reserved only to catering services and there are not even microwaves available to heating the homemade meals.

Finally, the most serious expression of the problem. Some parents are reluctant to show their economic difficulties so their kids come back home to lunch. The problem lies in a part of these children don’t come back to school and they miss the afternoon classes as well as they can’t take part of “out-of-school” activities.

So you can realize that the economic crisis and the adjustment policies have lot of unexpected faces.

PS. Once again I apologize for my English. All grammatical or syntactic corrections are welcome.

martes, 12 de junio de 2012


I never thought that I would become a blogger. I was deeply convinced that I had nothing interesting to add to the current flooding of available information. But I changed my mind.

It was in Paris last week when I attended the annual conference of the European trade union related institutes. The meeting was mostly focused on the impact of the economic crisis on EU member states and I spoke on the Spanish situation. I tried to explain as clear as possible the outcome of almost three years of budgetary cuts in the lives of most of Spanish people. I tried to link macroeconomic data –GDP, public debt, bond spread…- with loosing of quality in health or education as well as weakening of workers’ rights.

After dinner, having a coffee, some attendants to the conference told me how astonished they were. They didn’t imagine such an awful situation in Spain nor did they know the large number of demonstrations, strikes o social protests which took place every day in the country. They were convinced that problems were mostly limited to the economic field.

That’s the reason why I’ve decided become a blogger (at this point everybody have already realised how horrible is my English, sorry!). So my goal is to sketch some facts of the Spanish everyday reality beyond GDPs, deficits or public incomes. Small events which may be are the signal of future social fractures. I fear that nowadays not only the welfare state is threatened but the whole democracy. I hope not to be so pessimistic in the future.
Miners on strike attack to the police.
Asturias, June 2012