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Opinion 12/2015 on the draft Royal Legislative Decree adopting the consolidated text of the Workers’ Statute.

The Council considers that it is appropriate for the previous text, dating from 1995, to be updated, especially as over the past two decades there have been many legislative changes, including several major labour market reforms. But in the Council’s view, given the significance and centrality of the Workers’ Statute in individual and collective labour relations, the new text should have been drawn up with greater involvement of the social partners. In this regard the opinion highlights the insufficient consultation period of just seven days given at first to the social partners (the same as for a consultation on a regulation), with no reason being given for this shortened procedure. The period allowed to this Council for consultation following the ministry’s request for an urgent opinion was also short. The question of consolidating, clarifying and harmonising the Workers’ Statute requires a full and thorough analysis by the bodies consulted such as seems impossible in such a short time. As well as the periods given, the Council also criticises the procedure followed for participation by the social partners, which should have allowed for effective consultation sufficiently in advance of the most representative employers’ organisations and trade unions regarding the consolidated text. As to the content of the draft decree, the opinion points to a need to improve certain formal but none the less significant aspects. But, also due to the insufficient consultation period, it addresses only what appear to be the most important changes in the consolidated text.In these cases the Council recommends amending or maintaining the current form of the Workers’ Statute. Its opinion highlights among other provisions the new treatment for work by minors, arguing that the legislators should maintain the existing reference to the procedure for unhealthy, arduous, noxious or dangerous work being declared unsuitable for minors by government, and the arrangements for vocational and other education for minors. The same goes for the existing obligation to provide occupational health and safety training when workers change jobs or when new techniques which could involve hazards are introduced, or the halting of work by a majority decision of workers’ representatives in the event of serious and imminent hazards.