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Labour, Social Policies

REPORT 03/2004 on temporary employment in the public sector
This report on temporality in public employment was adopted by the Economic and Social Council with 38 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions. It was commis-sioned by the government in July 2004 with a view to tackling this serious problem.Regarding the rise in the rate of temporary employment in the public sector, the Council points out that ?from any perspective, the percentage is excessive in respect of what might be a reasonable or necessary use by public administration of outsourced staff to meet temporary, unforeseen, extraordinary or urgent needs.? Public employment has tended to grow considerably in the past two decades. In just over fifteen years, employment in public administration as a whole has risen to a total of some 2.8 million. Currently the Autonomous Communities employ over half of all pub-lic servants, the local authorities 20 per cent, and central government 17 per cent. More-over, a large portion of public employment created in recent years has been taken up by women, so the balance between male and female employees is now practically even.The growth in public employment has been accompanied by a sharp rise in the propor-tion of temporary contracts, so that the current rate for public administration as a whole (22.8 per cent) is more than double that of 1987. This rise was sharpest in the last period of economic expansion. Between 1997 and 2003, the rate of temporary employment in the public sector went up by 6.6 points, contrasting with the trend in the private sector, which saw a drop of 6 points.The rate of temporary employment varies widely among the various tiers of public ad-ministration. The highest rates are in local government, at 29.7 per cent, followed by the Autonomous Communities with 23 per cent, and central government with just 13 per cent. The temporary employment rate is 29 per cent in the health service and 22 per cent in education.One notable feature of temporality in public employment is its higher incidence in women, chiefly in sectors such as education and health, and in local government. An-other feature is that temporary services in the public sector have tended to be provided over longer periods, bearing out the conclusion that temporary employment is quite of-ten meeting structural needs in public administration.The problem of temporary public employment needs to be addressed with a thorough review of the policy of outsourcing services and activities currently followed by the various tiers of government. This review should lead to a clear definition of which ac-tivities and services may be outsourced and which should remain under direct public management.This Council report follows other recent surveys and analyses of temporary employment in the public sector by other institutions and bodes, highlighting the increasing and widespread concern about the problem. All have a common conclusion, which the Council wishes particularly to emphasize: the existence of growing and excessive tem-porality in public employment, in excess of what would be justified by the needs of public administration to guarantee services in the event of technical, temporary and ur-gent requirements.It will not be possible to achieve the aim of reducing the excessive temporality in public employment without the adoption of measures for coordination and cooperation be-tween the various tiers of government and the social partners in order to establish and implement integrated and coherent actions.

Social Policies

REPORT 03/2003 Second Report drawn up on the Council's initiative, on the social and employment situation of women in Spain
The report was first conceived as an update of a report drawn up by the Council nearly ten years ago (Report 3/1994) on the situation of women in society and employment in Spain, but the changes of the last decade made it indispensable to include issues not covered by the previous report. The new report was therefore structured in eight chapters: introduction, demog-raphy, education, labour market, work at home, reconciliation of working and family life, participation in politics and society, and proposed conclu-sions.The Spanish socio-demographic situation coincides broadly with that of other Mediterranean countries, albeit with more pronounced characteristics: a late but sharp drop in the birth rate, a moderate fall in average household size, and a strong predominance of women in one-parent and single-family households, often with economic difficulties. Finally we should note the sharp growth in the presence of women in recent influxes of immigrants, forming the sole basis of population growth in Spain, and whose main mi-gratory strategy, especially in the case of extra-Community women, is to enter the labour market.The rise in women?s average educational standard is one of the variables that best help explain the changes that have occurred in the situation of women working in and outside the home. The growing importance of edu-cation for women is also apparent in their better performance in each stage of the education system, though the gender separation in educational pathways chosen by girls and boys remains. This circumstance results in a greater difficulty for women in progressing from education to employment, and in a less favourable employment situation. Remedying this will require more stimulating educational environments for both genders and a better gender balance in the integration into male-dominated occupations of those achieving good results in vocational training.As to women?s participation in the labour market, it remains, despite notable growth in the past ten years, one of the lowest in the EU, and is still lower than the male participation rate. The figures for Spanish women are also notable for lower rates of part-time work and wage-earning and a higher rate of temporary work, though the number of female employers has grown appreciably. Moreover, education does not seem to be sufficient to make women more employable, and though the sharp rise in women?s educa-tional standards coincides with a certain tendency towards diversification of professional activities, the dual pattern remains by which women, regard-less of their age, are more conspicuous and gender-typecast in both high-skill and low-skill occupations. The extraordinary influx of young female immigrants, who have tended to be employed in low-skill occupations in domestic service, hotels and catering, commerce, agriculture and other business services, may have blurred the age division in that duality. Finally the study notes the existence of a wage gap and points to the contribution of collective bargaining thereto, or at least in impeding its reduction, and its virtual influence on professional diversification, a vital factor in explaining the phenomenon.Women?s greater presence in employment and their release from work at home as a main activity has not been kept up with by development in the distribution of responsibilities in the family and at work. Women are still the main carers for children and dependent adults, and this entails a double burden of work for many of them. Their professional life continues to be af-fected by this double working day despite the progress made in labour law and the new emphasis on policy to reconcile working and family life. The elements impeding change include cultural prejudices, different career pat-terns and shortcomings in support services and infrastructure for carers of children and dependent adults.Finally, as to women?s participation in decision-taking, although this has in-creased and many initiatives to this end have been taken in various spheres over the last decade, these steps forward seem not to be have been enough to remedy the current imbalance. There is still no balanced representation of women in any of the three branches of national govern-ment, nor in the internal organisation of political parties, in organised civil society through organisations representing citizens? economic and social in-terests, or in academic and scientific institutions.

Immigration, Labour, Social Policies

REPORT 02/2004 drawn up on the Council?s initiative, on immigration and the labour market in Spain
The Council judges the current channels by which foreign workers access the labour market to be appropriate, but proposes specific measures to simplify and make more flexible the relevant procedures and to reinforce instruments for joining up supply and demand. The Council recommends a simplification and homogenisation of the procedure for certifying the non-existence of workers available on the Spanish labour market to take up the corresponding job offer, so that if such an offer is not taken up within a certain period the requirement may be deemed to have been met and a foreign worker may be recruited. As to the qualifications of migrant workers, the Council suggests that training programmes for employment be organised in the country of origin through bilateral agreements or in collaboration with the sectors of the economy with most demand for mi-grant labour, as one measure to be adopted in the context of immigration policy. After analysing the extraordinary cyclical regularisation process the report proposes other measures, such as more regularisation based on the roots set down by immigrants in Spain, and other measures that would make the aforesaid extraordinary cyclical processes unnecessary. As well as strengthening border controls and promoting recruitment in the country of origin, an effective policy to combat illegal immigration should be ac-companied by a reinforcement of mechanisms to control offences linked to the irregular recruitment of aliens. The phenomenon of immigration re-quires policies of an integral nature, based on the widest possible agree-ment so as to ensure that they are solid, continuous and effective, and therefore it is indispensable to achieve the widest possible consensus be-tween all the political and social players.

Economy and Finance, International Policies

REPORT 01/2004 drawn up on the Council's initiative, on the potential ef-fects of the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union.
In the Council's opinion, the forthcoming enlargement of the European Un-ion should enhance the construction of Europe and of the internal market, and maintain the principle of cohesion, which should impregnate all Com-munity policy. Competitiveness needs to be increased, especially in prod-ucts and ranges with a high content of technology and added value, and Spanish companies should be internationalised as a guarantee of im-provement in the quality and volume of employment, so as to take advan-tage of the opportunities afforded by the European Union. It is necessary to provide an administrative and financial framework that facilitates the presence of Spanish companies abroad, primarily in these countries, and that attracts investment to Spain. Sectoral observatories should be set up by the most representative employers? organisations and trade unions in each sector, as set out in the National Collective Bargaining Agreement 2003, extended for 2004. The social partners in the candidate countries should play a vital active role in modernising and improving labour rela-tions and in facilitating adaptation to Community regulations. Any redistri-bution of Community funds should carried out in a balanced way over transitional periods, without cutting the aid received by the less developed areas of the current European Union.

Lisbon Strategy - Growth and Jobs

"Report from the High Level Group chaired by Wim Kok" - Position paper

Labour, Social Policies

Tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy - report 64


First job agreement - Evaluation - report 62


Evaluation of collective agreement No. 72 of 30 March 1999 on the management and prevention of work-related stress - report 63