Catalan President to offer Spanish PM the opportunity for dialogue after November 9's vote

November 5, 2014 09:27 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, announced on Wednesday that next Monday he will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to assess November 9's participatory process and to offer a negotiation for organising a definitive referendum on independence. Mas made such an announcement the day after the Constitutional Court suspended November 9's vote and after the Catalan Government confirmed that the participatory process will still take place on Sunday. The Catalan President emphasised that November 9's vote "is not a referendum to declare independence" and he said that those making these declarations "are lying". Mas emphasised he has respected the suspension of the original consultation vote, launching a citizen participation process instead. "If such a process cannot be carried out in a normal way, then Spanish citizens should think about Spain's democratic quality", he concluded.

Catalan Government is working on a National Pact for the Industry

January 8, 2014 08:44 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has welcomed the 138 proposals issued by a council of business associations, trade unions, academic experts and leading professionals, who form the so-called ‘Agreement for the Industry’ platform. The President of the Catalan Executive, Artur Mas, stated that those proposals are “a possible seed” for a broader agreement: a National Pact for the Industry that will define the priorities and main guidelines of Catalonia’s industrial policy for the next decade. The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment said that the 138 proposals coincide with “between 70 and 80%” of the Executive’s industrial policies. However he pointed out that the Government couldn’t bring all of them on board for budget or jurisdiction limitations.

Unions and municipalities criticise the Spanish Government for not reducing its structure

December 10, 2013 09:28 PM | ACN

Trade unions and the two associations of municipalities in Catalonia have issued a joint manifesto to protest against the Spanish Government’s Local Administration Reform. This reform recentralises powers and services, reducing the municipalities’ capacities and transferring resources to the Provincial Councils, political bodies associated to Spanish centralism and whose members are not directly-elected. The manifesto criticises the Spanish Government “for not having faced any significant reform of its heavy structure”, despite managing 53% of Spain’s public expenditure. The Spanish Government is also forcing the Autonomous Communities to reduce their services and structures.

Demonstration in Barcelona against austerity and “antisocial” policies

November 25, 2013 05:37 PM | ACN

Thousands of people – 12,000 according to Barcelona’s local police and 200,000 according to the organisers – demonstrated on Sunday in the streets of Barcelona to protest against the Spanish and Catalan Governments’ austerity measures and “antisocial” budgets. Led by the platform ‘Prou Retallades’ (“Stop Budget Cuts”) , the UGT and CCOO trade-unions, as well as political parties and associations, citizens voiced their disapproval of the new pension reform, working fragility and the latest austerity measures. They also specifically protested against the Catalan and Spanish Governments’ budgets for 2014, which they consider “antisocial”. The demonstration organisers criticised the “blind obedience” of the Catalan and Spanish Executives to the European Commission and the Troika.

Foreign nationals are leaving Catalonia as amount of job opportunities dries up

September 20, 2013 05:47 PM | Julian Scully

Following a decade of significant increases in the amount of foreign nationals in Catalonia, it appears that many are beginning to leave as job opportunities dry up. In 2000, the percentage of foreign nationals living in Catalonia was 2.9%, while just over a decade later in 2011 this figure had increased to 15.73%. However, in the past couple of years the amount is beginning to reduce: between 2009 and 2013, 44,000 foreign nationals left Catalonia. According to the Spokesperson of non-governmental organisation SOS Racisme, Jose Peñín, immigrants are leaving as “they have less stable contracts and work in more abusive conditions”.

Ambulance workers go on strike in Catalonia for four days but essential services are guaranteed

September 9, 2013 09:21 PM | ACN

The ambulance service has gone on strike from Monday to Thursday because of a 9.2% drop in staff wages. However, the provision of basic services is guaranteed, such as emergencies – including accidents and intra-hospital journeys – and the transportation of oncology and haemodialysis patients with scheduled treatments. The Catalan Health Ministry and the trade union CCOO showed a disagreement on the strike’s success. According to the Catalan Government, the demonstration was only followed by 8% of the workers on its first day, while the CCOO stated that 90% of the non-essential services have not been provided. The owners of the ambulance providers announced significant salary reductions in July. After talks with unions and the mediation of the Catalan Labour Court, an agreement has not been reached to avoid the strike.

Catalan economy has lost 595,000 jobs since 2008 according to a trade union report

July 13, 2013 01:59 AM | CNA

The Workers Commissions trade union (CCOO) has issued a study calculating that 595,000 jobs have been lost in Catalonia since 2008. Furthermore, the number of unemployed people has increased by 428,000 individuals. The study also revealed that the active population was reduced by 85,900 people (-2.3%) between 2011 and the last quarter of 2012. The Socio-Economy Secretary of CCOO said at the presentation of the study that “there are no objective indications of a short-term recovery of the economy or employment levels”.

The Spanish Constitutional Court temporarily suspends the Catalan Parliament's Declaration of Sovereignty

May 9, 2013 01:47 AM | CNA

The Catalan Parliament replies by approving the creation of a parliamentary commission on Catalonia’s right to self-determination with 79.3% of yes votes. The commission will study ways to organise a vote on the hypothetical independence from Spain. It is the first time in Spain a court has suspended an entire declaration that has no legal value and has been approved by a parliament. The declaration has no direct legal effect, as it is only a political statement stating that the Catalan people are sovereign to decide on their own collective future. The Spanish Government firstly downplayed the text and later, following the advice of its legal services, decided to appeal against it. By admitting the Spanish Government’s appeal against the text, the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the Declaration until a sentence is issued.

Nissan confirms that Barcelona is in the race to build its new sedan car again

January 29, 2013 10:36 PM | CNA

After having ruled out Barcelona because unions refused to sign Nissan’s final offer of modifying working conditions and reducing salaries in order to increase competitiveness, the unions made an about-turn. With the Catalan Government’s mediation, the main union signed Nissan’s final offer and the two others (CCOO and UGT) presented their own cost reduction plan, accepting almost all of the company’s requirements, including the dual salary scale. After a day-long negotiation between the Catalan Business Ministry and the unions, CCOO and UGT agreed to sign Nissan’s agreement if the company guaranteed the jobs of the existing workers. Nissan has accepted and now the European branch will put its Barcelona plant forward to the Japanese headquarters, which will soon allocate the new car production.

Trade unions make a last attempt to attract Nissan’s new car model to Barcelona by proposing their own cost reduction plan

January 28, 2013 10:28 PM | CNA / Esther Romagosa

After Nissan’s announcement that Barcelona would not build its new car model, the Catalan Government and the trade unions have been trying to persuade the Japanese company to change its mind. The six-month negotiation was derailed ten days ago, when Nissan considered the talks to be over as the unions refused to sign its final proposal. However, the company has not announced where the new car will be built yet. The union representing the majority of the Catalan plant’s workers has already signed Nissan’s proposal, but the unions CCOO and UGT – the main ones in Catalonia – have insisted on presenting their own proposal, based on Nissan’s need to make reductions of €30 million. A few days ago, Nissan stated that it was too late, but now it says it will study the union’s proposal to look at the details.

Nissan’s new car model, an investment of €130 million creating 4,000 jobs, will not be built in Barcelona

January 18, 2013 10:25 PM | CNA

Trade unions refused to sign the Japanese company’s final offer to increase the competitiveness of Barcelona’s plant by reducing salaries and changing working conditions, so Nissan announced the end of the talks after 6 months of negotiation and meditation by the Catalan Government. Before Christmas, the Japanese company had already warned the unions that talks were coming to an end as the production of the new sedan car needed to be allocated. Back then Nissan presented a final offer, which has however been modified in the last few days. Once the agreement seemed to be imminent, Nissan floated the idea of a two-day reduction in holiday days, which the unions immediately rejected. Nissan warned that its Barcelona plant might now face “a slow-death scenario”.

Nissan and unions are negotiating a salary drop to keep current jobs in Barcelona and add 1,000 more

December 20, 2012 11:14 PM | CNA / Esther Romagosa

Nissan is considering allocating the production of a new sedan car to its Catalan plant: a €130 million investment creating 1,000 direct and 3,000 indirect new jobs. However, the company is asking for salaries and working conditions to be adjusted in order to increase competitiveness. Barcelona hosts one of the main factories the Japanese automotive company has in Europe and in May it allocated the construction of a new pickup model, after a previous modification to the working conditions. The talks for the new adjustment have been ongoing since the summer but now they are at a crucial moment, since Nissan is about to make its final decision. The company has just made a counter-offer based on a minor and more progressive salary drop. In addition, it warns unions that without the new model, the company will have to lay off 600 workers as from next year.

Spanish Government’s budget cuts mean that those out of work will lose out on an average of €222 per month

August 7, 2012 10:50 PM | CNA

According to a report by the trade union CCOO, with the Spanish Government’s last budget adjustment, after the sixth month of being unemployed people will no longer receive an average of €222 per month. The report points out that people aged between 45 and 55 will be the most affected since many are in a long-term unemployment situation and will no longer qualify to receive any subsidies. Cristina Faciaben from the CCOO is convinced that the last series of measures to reduce the public deficit will not achieve its objective, and on the contrary will lead to a worsening of the economic crisis.

General Strike: irregular support, massive demonstrations, isolated violence and no changes in the Labour Reform Law

March 30, 2012 04:38 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The General Strike on March 29th ended without significant changes in the Spanish Government’s Labour Reform, but with a clear acknowledgement that there is growing social anger. The strike was unevenly supported in Catalonia. Unions talked about sector strike participation ranging between 97% and 57% and the Catalan Government about strike participations ranging between 24% and 10%. Minimum services worked as planned, without any significant incidents. Demonstrations took place in the main Catalan cities, with the largest in Barcelona. Isolated violent incidents were the only negative parts of what was a relatively calm day.

The Catalan Government plans to modify the working conditions of 45,000 public employees

March 16, 2012 09:33 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government has drafted a plan regarding public employees for the 2012-2014 period. The aim is to reduce public spending in order to meet the deficit targets by reorganising civil servants, including their working conditions. The plan foresees the possibility of a reduction in salaries and working hours, as well as making their working conditions, tasks, and location more flexible. 6,800 temporary workers will have their hours reduced by 15% from April 1st. Unions have criticised the plan. However, the Catalan Vice President has asked unions to avoid exaggerating the issue and creating problems.