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Spain passes law to facilitate collective dismissal of public employees

MADRID, Oct. 31 — The Spanish government on Tuesday passed a law making it easier for the public administration services to sack civil servants.

A royal decree published said collective dismissals could be made in public administration if a department sees its budget reduced by 5 percent.

Collective dismissals can also be carried out if a public company ended its previous year with a budget deficit, or if transfers from the state are reduced by 7 percent in the two previous years.

Changes in organization and working methods can also be used as a means to justify collective dismissals.

The changes in the law could affect up to 840,000 workers and opens the door for sweeping reductions in the number of public employees given that the vast majority of government departments and institutions have seen their budgets cut by the stipulated 5 percent.

The labor union UGT said the new rules were "much worse than expected and more damaging than those which had been presented in blueprints for the new law."

The blueprints envisaged dismissals only if budgets were cut by 10 percent.

The unions accuse the government of trying to reduce the number of civil servants in the "cheapest way possible."

They highlighted the fact that the law was introduced soon after elections in Galicia and the Basque region, where such a move would have almost certainly cost them precious votes. (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/JSD

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