Union contests working week hours suspension

LONGER WEEK: Prime Minister Rajoy had increased weekly hours to 37.5 as part of economic measures

SPAIN’S Constitutional Court has decided to cancel the 35-hour working week proposed by the Junta de Andalucia for its civil servants. The decision comes after admitting an appeal by the Andalucian government.

The measure came into force on January 16, 2017.  The 35-hour working week was initially implemented in 1999, but suspended and increased in 2012 by Mariano Rajoy’s government as part of economic measures.

According to the Independent Trade Union and Officials Centre (CSIF), the return to the 37.5-hour working week (known as ‘Rajoy’s hours’) threatens the rise in 9,300 public sector jobs last quarter. The union says that change will cause short-term unemployment and threaten the quality of care of essential public services in the community. They argue that public employment remains far from the pre-crisis figures and, despite the increase in employment numbers, an increase in work hours threatens jobs.

The union adds the change is an attack on public employees which affect their rights and will likely dry up further employment opportunities in the coming months. They stress that the although there was a 72,200 fall in unemployed last quarter, the figures are negligible to the total number of one million across the region.