Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The social partners hope that a proposal for a new form of temporary leave will encourage more permanent contracts as it will allow employers facing difficulties the option to reduce working time by 20% while maintaining wages, with support from the government.
Unions and employers agree proposal on precarious work
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The two main public service federations – FSC-CCOO and FesP-UGT – recently met with the public services minister to underline their concerns about precarious employment and urge action to implement existing agreements to curb the use of temporary contracts. The unions raised issues around staffing levels and the ageing public sector workforce but stressed that job insecurity was a major problem and that the proportion of workers on temporary contracts was still too high and had worsened in the response to the pandemic. The federations also called for action to remove any discrimination in the
The government is going ahead with proposals for new working time legislation despite widespread criticism from the trade unions and even doubts expressed by employer organisations. The government wants to allow more flexibility in working time, including longer night and shift work and more local agreements on working time. The unions are worried that this is all about more worker flexibility and are concerned about the lack of provisions to ensure workers are protected. The unions also point out that this is a missed opportunity to tackle the spread of precarious work.