The Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees states that the Spanish Labour Reform is unconstitutional
This advisory body dependent on the Catalan Government affirms that two aspects of the Labour Reform Law, recently approved by the Spanish Government, go against the Spanish Constitution. Furthermore, the report also highlights three elements that invade the Catalan Government’s jurisdiction. The four Left-Wing Catalan parties that requested the assessment one month ago are pushing for the reform to be brought to the Constitutional Court. CiU, who runs the Catalan Government, hopes to modify these aspects through parliamentary negotiations.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees (Consell de Garanties Estatutàries, CGE), an advisory body of the Catalan Government, stated on Thursday that two aspects of the Spanish Government\u2019s Labour Reform Law go against the Spanish Constitution and that three elements invade Catalan powers. All the CGE conclusions have been approved unanimously. The CGE stated that article 12 and 14 of the Labour Reform Law are unconstitutional. They refer to the unilateral modification of working conditions by business-owners and the possibility of ruling out collective agreements. Furthermore, according to the CGE aspects relating to labour relations, approval of training materials, and validation of training centres invade the Catalan Government\u2019s jurisdiction, as they are devolved powers but the reform puts those power in the hands of the Spanish Government. The CGE issued the report in two separate requests, one presented by four Left-Wing parties (PSC, ICV-EUiA, ERC, and SI) and the second one presented by CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. After the CGE assessment, the Left-Wing parties are pushing to take the reform to the Spanish Constitutional Court. CiU hopes to modify the aspects deemed unconstitutional and a threat to the Catalan jurisdiction through parliamentary negotiations before the reform law\u2019s definitive approval.
The Council for Constitutional Guarantees (CGE) has stated that article 12 and 14 of the Spanish Government\u2019s Labour Reform Law are unconstitutional. In particular points 1 and 2 of article 12, regarding the unilateral modification of the working conditions by the employer if the financial situation of the company requires so, would go against article 86.1 of the Spanish Constitution. In addition point 6 of the same article 12 would go against Constitutional articles 37.1 and 24.1. Furthermore, article 14 of the labour reform law, foreseeing ruling out collective agreements, would also be unconstitutional because it would also violate these same articles of the Constitution.
Besides, article 14 of the labour reform law would also violate the powers of the Catalan Government, which has jurisdiction regarding labour relations, foreseen in article 170 of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (Catalonia\u2019s main law approved by the Spanish Parliament and by the Catalan People through a referendum). In addition, point 2 of the 7th temporary disposition of the labour reform, and points 1 and 4 of the 8th would invade Catalan powers. These points give the Spanish Public Employment Service the executive powers to validate training materials and approve training centres, but this is a job of the Catalan Public Employment Service in Catalonia, as stated in article 170 of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy.
Two independent appeals to the CGE
The CGE has released an assessment of the Spanish Government\u2019s Labour Reform Law because it was formally requested to do so by two appeals. The first was presented on March 6th by the four Left-Wing parties in the Catalan Parliament: the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC); the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA); the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC); and the radical Catalan Independence Party (SI). They considered the reform to be unconstitutional and invade Catalan powers. The second was later presented by CiU, pointing at the aspects that might invade areas managed by the Catalan Government.
The Left-Wing parties want to take the reform to the Constitutional Court
The main opposition party in Catalonia, which is also part of the main opposition party at Spanish level, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) stated that the CGE represents \u201Ca moral victory\u201D for those who state that the Spanish Government wants to break the labour relations model. The PSC Spokesperson, Jaume Collboni, said that the Catalan Parliament could use the CGE as the base for a future unconstitutionality appeal. He hoped CiU would be \u201Cup to the mark\u201D and \u201Cwould not oppose the Catalan Parliament to present such an appeal\u201D, as CiU is close to holding an absolute majority in the Catalan chamber.
The leader of the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), Joan Herrera, said that the CGE report is \u201Ca true slam on Rajoy\u2019s face and on Mas\u2019 attitude\u201D. Herrera said that the reform affects \u201Cworkers\u2019 basic rights\u201D and \u201Cthe Catalan Government\u201D. He urged the Catalan Government and the Catalan Parliament to present an appeal against the Labour Reform to the Constitutional Court.
The Deputy Spokesperson of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), Oriol Amorós, asked the Catalan Government to lead the initiative to present an appeal against the Labour Reform to the Constitutional Court. He also asked the People\u2019s Party \u201Cto stop implementing\u201D a reform that is \u201Cunconstitutional\u201D and that \u201Cinvades\u201D the control of the Catalan Government. The Spokesperson for the radical Catalan Independence Party \u2018Solidaritat per la Independència\u2019 (SI), Alfons López Tena, demanded the Catalan Government to lead the appeal. \u201CThe CGE has issued an assessment, it is thus the Catalan Government which has to present the appeal\u201D, he stated.
CiU expects modifying the reform through parliamentary negotiations
On Thursday, Jordi Turull, CiU Spokesperson at the Catalan Parliament, has ruled out the possibility of taking the Spanish Government\u2019s Labour Reform Law to the Constitutional Court. Turull stated they will not present an appeal to the Court, neither will they facilitate the other parties do so through the Catalan Parliament, answering the Left-Wing parties. He defended using parliamentary negotiations to modify the Reform Law, since the definitive text still needs to be approved at the Spanish Parliament. CiU supports following the CGE conclusions to modify the reform accordingly. Turull stated that presenting an appeal to the Constitutional Court now \u201Cis absurd\u201D and might \u201Cmake us appear ridiculous\u201D, as the Court could declare some articles unconstitutional that might have already been modified through the parliamentary negotiations.