A million workers in Catalonia dismissed due to coronavirus crisis, warns union

CCOO trade union estimates that apart from 570,000 temporarily laid off, another half million temporary and short-term contracts have been terminated

CCOO trade union leader Javier Pacheco on November 27, 2019 (by Aina Martí)
CCOO trade union leader Javier Pacheco on November 27, 2019 (by Aina Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 1, 2020 04:29 PM

A million workers in Catalonia could be affected by the covid-19 crisis, says the CCOO trade union, which estimates that apart from the more than 570,000 laid off temporarily, another half a million have lost their jobs in the two weeks since the emergency began. 

According to the union's secretary-general in Catalonia, Javier Pacheco, most of the dismissals detected by the union are due to terminations of temporary or short-term contracts, which means that compensation packages are far from substantial.

If the union's estimates are correct, the number of people out of work due to the coronavirus crisis surpasses the number out of work at the height of the financial crisis that began in 2008, when almost 950,000 people were left jobless at one point.

However, the huge jump in the number of people unemployed in recent weeks has largely been due to thousands of businesses temporarily laying off employees due to the crisis. By Wednesday, some 76,048 firms had submitted such plans, affecting over 570,000 people

15% of Catalan workforce to claim dole by year's end

According to the Catalan labor department, the huge rise in the number of companies wanting to temporarily lay off workers means that 15% of the workforce in Catalonia will have had to claim unemployment benefit by the end of the year.

Most of the firms applying to lay off employees are in the Barcelona area, which as of Monday accounted for 49,773 cases, affecting some 413,075 people in and around the Catalan capital. That is followed by the northern province of Girona, with 7,875 cases and 50,402 employees.

In the past couple of weeks, some of the biggest employers in Catalonia have announced temporary lay-offs, including automakers Seat and Nissan, as well as well-known Catalan names like perfume company Puig, cava producer Freixenet, and jewelry firm Tous.