Monday, February 7, 2011

Unions Collaborate With Spanish Government to Attack Workers

Image by ElFrenetico
The two main Spanish unions, the UGT (Union General de los Trabajadores) and the CCOO (Comisiones Obreras) cut a “social pact” with the Spanish government that will gut pensions and collective bargaining in order to satisfy the greed of wealthy bankers who run the European Central Bank and the IMF. German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero to end salary increases tied to inflation as a pre-condition for European rescue funds.

The pension “reform” part of the plan will cut public spending on pensions from the already low 10% of GDP and includes an increase in the retirement age of two years, from 65-67. Workers will now have to work at least 37 years to be fully vested (compared to 35 years before), or a minimum of 15 years to receive 50% benefits. Pensions will be based on the last 25 years of employment, rather than the current 15, effectively cutting average benefits by 12-20%. In the only piece of good news, years mothers spend caring for children, in lieu of work, will count toward years of employment.

The “social pact” also included changes to contractual bargaining that will weaken unions’ by forcing more direct bargaining between employers and employees, undermining the power of collective bargaining across industries.

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