Gonzalez proposes recession-beating pact
Wednesday 28 July 1993
His aim is to get all social sectors in agreement for a three- year pact to start next January. Failure to do so, political analysts believe, could bring down his Socialist government and force new elections.
Taking part in the meeting at the Economy Ministry were the new ministers of Economy and Labour, Pedro Solbes and Jose Antonio Grinan, the leaders of the two big union federations, Nicolas Redondo of the General Workers' Union and Antonio Gutierrez of the Workers' Comissions as well as Jose Maria Cuevas, head of the Employers' Federation.
The government, desperate to cut a public deficit expected to reach 5 per cent of GDP this year, hopes to reach a compromise between the unions' refusal to see of social welfare cuts and industry's insistence on more flexible labour legislation to make Spain competitive within Europe.
The employers say workers have been mollycoddled during 11 years of Mr Gonzalez's Socialist Party rule and that the right to strike or picket, dismissal benefits and high unemployment payments have been discouraging productivity. 'Moonlighting' - having two jobs, or one 'unofficial' job while collecting dole money - is considered by many workers as almost a basic civil right.
Employers' figures released this week showed strikes and work hours lost were down 22 per cent in the first half of this year compared with the first six months of 1992. That was hardly something to celebrate, however, since this year's first-half figure was 1,014 strikes and 15.5 million work hours lost.
The unions are reluctant to cede any of the rights they have built up over the years and have warned Mr Gonzalez against cutting pensions or unemployment benefits. The government's Catch 22 is how to reduce the spiralling deficit without doing so. Mr Gonzalez and his ministers have been putting out contradictory signals. Essentially, however, they have made it clear they must at least 'contain' public spending. Since the jobless figure is still rising, that seems to imply social welfare cuts along the line.
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Israel-Gaza crisis: YouTube footage shows scale of destruction after 50 days of shelling
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
Salary/Rate: £32,000/annum: M&E Global Resources Ltd: Description/Main Duties ...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...