Madrid. (Xinhua) – Spain faces 1.5 million temporary layoffs due to Covid-19. The commercial and economic paralysis that Spain is suffering has resulted in the massive accumulation of procedures for Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ETRE), a form of temporary dismissal that allows Spanish labor regulations when companies cannot assume market conditions.

Precisely this situation is the one faced by tens of thousands of companies, small companies and self-employed workers since the official declaration of the State of Alarm by the Government on Saturday, March 14, again extended for another 15 days until 12 December. April.

Since the date of March 14 they have accumulated in the Ministry of Labor employment regulation procedures affecting 1.5 million workers. This ERTE avalanche also threatens to delay the collection of unemployment benefits that have accumulated in the Public Employment Service (SEPE).

The Government of Spain is aware that it is facing a national emergency that can lead the country to a crisis of gigantic magnitudes and difficult to overcome.

The statement of the state of alarm vetoed the opening of all shops except pharmacies, supermarkets and grocery stores or tobacco shops that sell tobacco. The closure has led to the closure of all shops, establishments, hotels and restaurants.

In a single day, on March 23, large Spanish groups such as El Corte Inglés, Meliá Hotels and the hotel group Barceló presented ERTE for more than 40,000 workers, and thousands of companies have already accepted this measure due to force majeure to reduce its staff in the absence of commercial activity.

Other large Spanish companies that have made adjustments to their staff have been Ikea, Toys’R’Us, FNAC, Renault, Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, Burger King, Primark, Vueling, Ryanair, Norwegian or the Damm beer group, all of them companies with more than 1,000 workers.

Since the entry of the alarm state, more than 200,000 companies have submitted temporary adjustments.

The ERTE avalanche has pushed the Government to adopt an unusual decision during the extraordinary Council of Ministers on March 27, temporarily vetoing the layoffs caused by COVID-19, that is, while the state of alarm lasts. A measure that had already been claimed by the majority unions in Spain, UGT and CCOO.

From now on, companies will not be able to fire their workers due to force majeure, economic, technical, organizational or production reasons that allege the coronavirus as an excuse, something that had exploded in the last 15 days.

“You cannot fire because we have arbitrated a comprehensive mechanism for companies to qualify for ERTE,” said Yolanda Díaz, Minister of Labor, who wants any measure of labor adjustment that companies adopt to be channeled by the suspension of employment provided by the Government.

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