spanish job agency and responses from the left

rc&am rcollins at
Mon Dec 7 22:15:18 PST 1998

> CNT versus ETT

> In 1994, the Spanish government modified the law about employment agencies.
> Previously, all employers seeking workers through an agency had gone through
> INEM, the state run agency (equivalent to the Employment Service here),
> because the law required that contracts be directly between worker and
> employer. Since this change in the law there have been many empresas de
> trabajo temporal, literally Temporary Work Businesses, established, although
> many seem to be on a dubious legal footing as the law that created them is
> unclear. Certainly our sister organisation in Spain, the CNT, regard them as
> acting illegally.
> They have been fighting these ETTs because they are a further attempt to
> attack workers pay and conditions. Workers hired through ETTs are usually
> paid less than the national agreements for that industry dictate, and they
> have fewer employment rights. There is also the possibility of blacklisting
> as the ETTs offer themselves to employers stating they have "secure people".
> While this suits the bosses very well, it clearly is not in the interest of
> the workers, though with some of the highest unemployment rates in the EU,
> Spanish bosses know they can get away with attacking terms and conditions.
> Typically, the main reformist unions (the socialist UGT and communist
> CC.OO)not only show no interest in fighting the ETTs, but have signed a
> national agreement allowing a pay differential of up to 30% between directly
> employed workers and those employed via the ETT. With such an agreement it
> is no wonder that ETTs are being used for permanent as well as temporary
> jobs.
> The CNT's strategy is the opposite. They try to create as many difficulties
> for the ETT as they can. They have stickered and occupied ETT offices.
> Where they have any strength in a workplace, they fight against the firm
> using the ETT and in favour of direct employment. Sometimes this is with
> other unions, but often they are complicit. The CNT has also managed to
> establish one union section actually in an ETT.
> Earlier this year an ETT in Madrid was firebombed, which the press tried to
> paint on the CNT. In June the ETT Agora in Manlleu reported a CNT militant
> to the police for allegedly painting their building. The ETT didn't show up
> in court and the CNT are responding by raising the profile of their campaign
> and creating a public debate on the harmful role of the ETTs in the
> workplace.
> The CNT in Burgos organised a bit of street theatre to commemorate their
> local ETTs, calling an ironic Via Crucis (a religious penitential
> procession) as the "penitent Workers".
> This article is from Direct Action, quarterly magazine of the Solidarity
> Federation-IWA, available from PO Box 1095, Sheffield S2, email
> da at

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