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Old May 3rd 2012, 6:13 am   #16
 
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by pain-in-spain View Post
Thanks Domino and others for your comments. I am not worried about my boss but I know that my work colleagues don't want to rock the boat despite agreeing completely with me. We are all legal, in other words we are European with papers and all of us have had proper work contracts with other companies in the years we have been here. Trouble is that nobody wants to take the risk to do something so I feel quite alone. Today my boss printed me out another copy of my "contract" as the dates on the other one were not correct, it's amazing how he thinks it means anything at all! I had asked him last week if he would allow me to work from home on each Monday after the weekend I have to work (at home) once a month, I asked him nicely and said that I wasn't asking for time off, just to be allowed to work at home where ironically I get more work done, he got annoyed when I told him my last company (legal) gave me a day off in lieu for the weekends I worked. He has now amended my contract to say he will let me work from home until 2pm on the Monday after the weekend I have agreed to work each month, in other words he's not conceding anything, this says it all. He really is misguided that he truly believes he is a proper employer. The main thing I haven't mentioned is that 5 years ago, when he first came here, he had about 10 staff working out of his flat, one by one they left (no surprise there) and he was left with about two staff. He then got an office around the corner from his flat where I started working for him, after nearly a year he wanted to save money (like he's not saving enough with all the SS he's not paying) and told us he was moving house and we'd have to go and work there. I had to agree even though it was a 30 minute longer journey. We are an online company which doesn't actually need an office anywhere and as I said before, he employs cheap labour in Eastern Europe and Asia for the copywriting stuff. I have worked at home for longish periods when he and his family have been away on holiday or visiting family and virtually run the business from my computer at home. He specifies that I am freelance in the contract so at the very least I should be working from my own home with my own equipment to justify this, although I still wouldn't accept this as I am not self employed as I just work for him, I wouldn't mind if I had the freedom to take on other contracts and juggle my own hours but he insists on specific hours and holidays so it simply isn't kosher. The fact that he works from home means he's not declaring a business location, his wife is listed as self employed and she does the accounts for the business but I have a feeling it is all based on her being the only employee, totally not the case.
Somebody has suggested denouncing him whilst I'm still there and do it anonymously but this would be very tricky especially given I have already contested various grievances I have and everyone else has just accepted the way things are. If I keep hold of this job and let's face it, I am in big trouble without it, I will shop him just before I go, either way it will happen. If I shop him now he is likely to close the business and move, he's done it before (he started the business in Italy) and is used to uprooting his family, and I'll likely get nothing. It's hard to stay put feeling the way I do, but they do say that revenge is a dish best served cold, don't they?!

Having worked for some "funny" employers/directors who have been verbally abusive, demanded so much without giving anything in return, I know what it is like to sit there in fear of losing one's job, desperate to just keep the money coming in.
It is difficult and seems like hell both at home as well at work.

You will come out of it, you will get some form of revenge.

Good luck and let us know how things pan out later in the year
KR
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Old May 3rd 2012, 8:14 am   #17
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Tip: Paragraphs!

You situation is not entirely unusual; It's complicated and expensive to run a small business "properly" in Spain, and aside from the risk of being caught and fined, the benefits of keeping a small business completely legal are limited, and often can actually be a drawback.

Just another reason why it's common to have 2 sets of books, buy and sell with cash, buy and sell without IVA and so on.

The ridiculously obtuse labour laws have traditionally been a big risk to hiring in Spain - especially for small businesses, so a lot of small businesses do everything to get around it - "fudging" their labour practices using "contract" or "temporary" labour, or in some cases are legally ineligible to hire in the first place, or simply aren't willing to take the risks to "properly" hire anyway, which renders the kinds of situation you are experiencing. Not at all uncommon.

Luckily, some easing in the strict labour laws have been passed, and that may encourage small businesses to do things more on the up&up, but only time will tell. Illegal and unethical practices are pretty well-embedded in the system. It will take time...

Last edited by amideislas; May 3rd 2012 at 8:31 am.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 9:02 am   #18
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

What the OP has described may sound horrific to British people, but it's normal practise in Spain, unfortunately, and has been for many, many years.

Of course the new government will try and change the system, but the socialists that came before tried too, and they were supposed to be on the side of the workers. Unless I misread the PP intentions, making it easier to sack people will not help those workers.

And if you close down all the businesses using the old-fashioned system, unemployment will rise even higher from the ridiculous levels already in place.

And revenge has never paid the rent.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 9:21 am   #19
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by HBG View Post
What the OP has described may sound horrific to British people, but it's normal practise in Spain, unfortunately, and has been for many, many years.

Of course the new government will try and change the system, but the socialists that came before tried too, and they were supposed to be on the side of the workers. Unless I misread the PP intentions, making it easier to sack people will not help those workers.

And if you close down all the businesses using the old-fashioned system, unemployment will rise even higher from the ridiculous levels already in place.

And revenge has never paid the rent.
I have to disagree with you on this one (except for the revenge thing, which I agree with).

This is primarily the work of the socialist government - they and their compadres - the unions - created this mess with their idealistic view that all people should have a high-paying job and once they've passed their "trial" period, will have complete security that they will never lose that job (it is, after all their "right" to have that job even if they are worthless employees).

2nd, absolutely, positively, making it easier to sack people will indeed encourage hiring - here's why:

The problem - especially for small business - is that once you hire someone and they've worked past their "trial period", it's almost impossible to sack them, even if they are worthless and even if they steal from you.

We have some good friends who run a successful real estate business, and although they would normally be hiring a few more people at this time, they simply won't, and feel forced to put the extra work burden on their existing staff, due to their horrible experiences with labour law.

Just one example of many from them they've told us about - last year, they sacked one of their longest hired employees after it was discovered and proven beyond any doubt that she has been nicking money from the company coffers for years - to the tune of over €100k. And she even admitted it.

They took the matter to court, but even though she had been caught red-handed nicking thousands (admitted and not at all in dispute in court) they were not allowed to sack her. Long story short, they had to pay her another €45K in compensation to get her out of the company.

Another example - We met a young couple a few months ago, who told us they just wanted to get a job with a "Spanish contract" so that after the first year, they could slack off and work as little as possible without any risk of losing their job. Brilliant.

This is exactly what such stringent labour protections do. They make people lethargic and unenthusiastic, and expect that it's their "right" to have a good paying job whether they deserve to have it or not. And employers are solely burdened with the loss of productivity and huge expenses if an employee refuses or otherwise fails to live up to their obligations.

Like most liberal policies, not well thought through, and ultimately serves to deliver the exact opposite of what it's intended to do. Sound familar? It should. We are now in the reckoning phase of this big liberal experiment, and it's no secret that it's not quite what was intended, is it?

Stories like this are rampant in Spain, and it's one reason why nobody wants to risk hiring anyone.

Hopefully, making it easier and less expensive to sack people will encourage employers to hire again (and more importantly, remove the expectation that once you have a job, you needn't work anymore). But it will take time, since these things are now well-embedded in the work culture in Spain - foreigners or not.

Last edited by amideislas; May 3rd 2012 at 10:02 am.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 10:03 am   #20
 
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by amideislas View Post
I have to disagree with you on this one.

This is primarily the work of the socialist government - they and their compadres - the unions - created this mess with their idealistic view that all people should have a high-paying job and once they've passed their "trial" period, will have complete security that they will never lose that job (it is, after all their "right" to have that job even if they are worthless employees).

2nd, absolutely, positively, making it easier to sack people will indeed encourage hiring - here's why:

The problem - especially for small business - is that once you hire someone and they've worked past their "trial period", it's almost impossible to sack them, even if they are worthless and even if they steal from you.

We have some good friends who run a successful real estate business, and although they would normally be hiring a few more people at this time, they simply won't, and feel forced to put the extra work burden on their existing staff, due to their horrible experiences with labour law.

Just one example of many from them they've told us about - last year, they sacked one of their longest hired employees after it was discovered and proven beyond any doubt that she has been nicking money from the company coffers for years - to the tune of over €100k. And she even admitted it.

They took the matter to court, but even though she had been caught red-handed nicking thousands (admitted and not at all in dispute in court) they were not allowed to sack her. Long story short, they had to pay her another €45K in compensation to get her out of the company.

Another example - We met a young couple a few months ago, who told us they just wanted to get a job with a "Spanish contract" so that after the first year, they could slack off and work as little as possible without any risk of losing their job.

This is exactly what such stringent labour protections do. They make people lethargic and unenthusiastic, and expect that it's their "right" to have a good paying job whether they deserve to have it or not. And employers are solely burdened with huge expenses if an employee refuses or otherwise fails to live up to their obligations.

Like most liberal policies, not well thought through, and ultimately serves to deliver the exact opposite of what it's intended to do. Sound familar? It should. We are now in the reckoning phase of this big liberal experiment, and it's no secret that it's not quite what was intended, is it?

Stories like this are rampant in Spain, and it's one reason why nobody wants to risk hiring anyone.

Hopefully, making it easier and less expensive to sack people will encourage employers to hire again (and more importantly, remove the expectation that once you have a job, you needn't work anymore). But it will take time, since these things are now well-embedded in the work culture in Spain - foreigners or not.
add to that the policeman who is going to jail for a period (for theft IIRC), but will be coming back to his job

the stories are many and varied - this is where the term "Spanish Practices" comes from. But I am sure there are many many hard working Spanish who look at this with disdain, but cannot do anything about it either.
You can set your watch by my landlord going to work every morning, coming home at night. And I know he works as I can see the rear of the garage from the study window.

but then the UK has similar stories, I can remember working in a department whose supervisor employed her niece who proved totally incapable so the supervisor did at least 50% of the work herself (which proves she was under employed as well). The galling thing for the rest of the team was this 18yo was being paid from day 1 the same salary as us with years of experience. Niece more days off sick in a year than 4 of us did in total.

.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 10:13 am   #21
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by amideislas View Post

Stories like this are rampant in Spain, and it's one reason why nobody wants to risk hiring anyone.

Hopefully, making it easier and less expensive to sack people will encourage employers to hire again (and more importantly, remove the expectation that once you have a job, you needn't work anymore). But it will take time, since these things are now well-embedded in the work culture in Spain - foreigners or not.
There is some truth in this especially in the public sector where sackings are almost unheard of

However, its not the fault of the last socialist government. None of the laws were passed recently, they are all historical laws from the birth of democracy and before

Btw, the new law the PP passed making it easier to sack people has lead to 600,000 people being sacked in the first 3 months of 2012. Fingers crossed that the law will actually create employment as well! I have my doubts
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Old May 3rd 2012, 10:41 am   #22
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by cricketman View Post
There is some truth in this especially in the public sector where sackings are almost unheard of

However, its not the fault of the last socialist government. None of the laws were passed recently, they are all historical laws from the birth of democracy and before
You really don't have a clue, do you? What does the birth of democracy have to do with it? Nothing. This nonsense is hardly democratic. It's a socialist policy. period.

Quote:
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Btw, the new law the PP passed making it easier to sack people has lead to 600,000 people being sacked in the first 3 months of 2012. Fingers crossed that the law will actually create employment as well! I have my doubts
Looks like they're finally able to empty the rubbish. You can't sack 600K people without the need to hire (and lower operating costs enabling you to afford to hire), so I'd reckon they're preparing to hire people who actually work for the €3500 per month plus benefits, instead of sitting around surfing facebook, twitter and ebay all day, and following their 3-hour siesta, complaining about how terrible their jobs are.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 11:09 am   #23
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by amideislas View Post
You really don't have a clue, do you? What does the birth of democracy have to do with it? Nothing. This nonsense is hardly democratic. It's a socialist policy. period.



Looks like they're finally able to empty the rubbish. You can't sack 600K people without the need to hire (and lower operating costs enabling you to afford to hire), so I'd reckon they're preparing to hire people who actually work for the €3500 per month plus benefits, instead of sitting around surfing facebook, twitter and ebay all day, and following their 3-hour siesta, complaining about how terrible their jobs are.
The birth of Spanish democracy in the early 80s, ever heard of it? It came with a host of new laws. It was based on a socialist democracy partly because of the reponse to Franco finally leaving

Not many people in Spain are earning 3500 per month, probably only the top 3 or 4 per cent. I know people who do (and more) and they work as hard as those who earn well elsewhere in the world

A friend earns 60k in Barcelona as a tax consultant and works incredibly hard. The same position in the same company in the UK or Germany earns twice as much.

Spanish people are most definitely not overpaid and it tends to be those who are paid badly who have a poor work ethic. After all, you wouldnt be motivated if you were paid badly and at the same time treated badly by your employer
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Old May 3rd 2012, 12:19 pm   #24
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Well, I reckon you're right, Cman, has nothing to do with socialism.

And it's really not fair that those who have a poor work ethic should make less than anyone else (or even worse, be subject to redunancy). That's discrimination!

I reckon there ought to be a law that nobody can make more than anyone else, and that nobody can be sacked for any reason. That would prevent such despicable and unfair discrimination, make the workers highly motivated, and make the system completely fair for everyone.

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Old May 3rd 2012, 12:42 pm   #25
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Democracy in Spain is only around 30 years old, European communism has only been dead for around the same time, the first black President of the US has only been in office for three years, and South American governments are only now seizing the assets of the former colonial power.

It takes time to establish a new order, the UK has gone back to the boys from Eton after their frustration with the grumpy, unelected Jock and Germany has saddled itself with a former communist lady who is now a Conservative.

The world will be upside down for a while, maybe even a long while.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 12:59 pm   #26
 
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Democracy in Spain is only around 30 years old, European communism has only been dead for around the same time, the first black President of the US has only been in office for three years, and South American governments are only now seizing the assets of the former colonial power.

It takes time to establish a new order, the UK has gone back to the boys from Eton after their frustration with the grumpy, unelected Jock and Germany has saddled itself with a former communist lady who is now a Conservative.

The world will be upside down for a while, maybe even a long while.
Yes, this will be an interesting year or two with a number of countries electing president's, some will be totally new and the faces at the top table will probably look different.
Hopefully this will lead to grasping the nettle and making changes that will put countries back on course.

The childs spinning top has become rather wobbly and hopefully this means there will be a pumping that will put it back on course and humming as it used to.
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Old May 3rd 2012, 8:19 pm   #27
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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The birth of Spanish democracy in the early 80s, ever heard of it? It came with a host of new laws. It was based on a socialist democracy partly because of the reponse to Franco finally leaving

Not many people in Spain are earning 3500 per month, probably only the top 3 or 4 per cent. I know people who do (and more) and they work as hard as those who earn well elsewhere in the world

A friend earns 60k in Barcelona as a tax consultant and works incredibly hard. The same position in the same company in the UK or Germany earns twice as much.

Spanish people are most definitely not overpaid and it tends to be those who are paid badly who have a poor work ethic. After all, you wouldnt be motivated if you were paid badly and at the same time treated badly by your employer
Salaries here are amongst the lowest in Europe, if not the lowest. A few years ago somebody coined the term milleurista i.e somebody who earns 1000 euros a month, back then (just around 5 years ago) there was outrage that people could earn this amount, well I just saw a tv programme on Spanish tv discussing this terminology and how now you are thought to be very lucky if you earn a thousand euros a month as salaries have gotten even lower! I know a hard working guy originally from Cuba, been here more than 10 years, married to a Catalan with 2 young kids, he is highly educated, he works in a factory run by a greedy Catalan and he earns 35 euros a day for a 9 hour day, he works very hard and still finds the time to make his art and jewelery, which is his passion, when he has spare time.

I also know locals who take jobs and wait for the allotted time to pass when they know they will get the dole, which over here is a lot of money in comparison to wages, true it only lasts up to 2 years at full amount, by which time they quickly find another job and the whole process starts again, well this is how things used to be, now it's harder to get any work at all.

The efficiency here is very low in comparison to other countries and I agree attitude of many employees is negative and this partly due to low wages but also a cultural thing as families tend to overly spoil their kids and they have tended to live at home till a much older age than other countries do, this is before the crisis set in when there was no excuse not to move out and find your own way in life.

Spain has had a long history of high unemployment statistics, now it's highest than ever been (I believe) at nearly 25% overall, obviously like other countries there are areas which are higher and lower. But what is really crushing to know is that a fifth of the Spanish economy is in the black and this is directly related to the unemployment figures, which clearly are nowhere near as high as many people are actually employed illegally or fall into the falso autonomo bracket (somebody forced to become self employed but actually is employed by a company who don't want to pay their SS), once again this is very very common.

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Old May 3rd 2012, 8:35 pm   #28
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by amideislas View Post
I have to disagree with you on this one (except for the revenge thing, which I agree with).

This is primarily the work of the socialist government - they and their compadres - the unions - created this mess with their idealistic view that all people should have a high-paying job and once they've passed their "trial" period, will have complete security that they will never lose that job (it is, after all their "right" to have that job even if they are worthless employees).

2nd, absolutely, positively, making it easier to sack people will indeed encourage hiring - here's why:

The problem - especially for small business - is that once you hire someone and they've worked past their "trial period", it's almost impossible to sack them, even if they are worthless and even if they steal from you.

We have some good friends who run a successful real estate business, and although they would normally be hiring a few more people at this time, they simply won't, and feel forced to put the extra work burden on their existing staff, due to their horrible experiences with labour law.

Just one example of many from them they've told us about - last year, they sacked one of their longest hired employees after it was discovered and proven beyond any doubt that she has been nicking money from the company coffers for years - to the tune of over €100k. And she even admitted it.

They took the matter to court, but even though she had been caught red-handed nicking thousands (admitted and not at all in dispute in court) they were not allowed to sack her. Long story short, they had to pay her another €45K in compensation to get her out of the company.

Another example - We met a young couple a few months ago, who told us they just wanted to get a job with a "Spanish contract" so that after the first year, they could slack off and work as little as possible without any risk of losing their job. Brilliant.

This is exactly what such stringent labour protections do. They make people lethargic and unenthusiastic, and expect that it's their "right" to have a good paying job whether they deserve to have it or not. And employers are solely burdened with the loss of productivity and huge expenses if an employee refuses or otherwise fails to live up to their obligations.

Like most liberal policies, not well thought through, and ultimately serves to deliver the exact opposite of what it's intended to do. Sound familar? It should. We are now in the reckoning phase of this big liberal experiment, and it's no secret that it's not quite what was intended, is it?

Stories like this are rampant in Spain, and it's one reason why nobody wants to risk hiring anyone.

Hopefully, making it easier and less expensive to sack people will encourage employers to hire again (and more importantly, remove the expectation that once you have a job, you needn't work anymore). But it will take time, since these things are now well-embedded in the work culture in Spain - foreigners or not.
I agree with this, but there is no excuse to abuse people and in my case my boss is married to a very wealthy woman and there's plenty of money in the family, they have a nanny in the house and their kids go to an expensive fee paying school, he is just one of many I've come across here who is taking advantage of the relaxed laws and illegal practices and knows that it's unlikely he'll get caught (well his time maybe running out on that score!).

However I do know that the amount of social security contribution an employer pays for an employee is very very high indeed, this is paid on top of the wage, I think it is around 60% or something ridiculous, on top of this there are other costs too. But this also stands for those who want to be self employed, they have to pay a min 250 euro a month on top of accountant fees and taxes before anything is earned, so the practice of forcing employees to become self employed is also very beneficial to the businesses who abuse the law. I've come across many so called self employed who really are not, like me they work full time for one company at their offices and it really is amazing how they get away with it, but these are harder to find as they appear to be in gainful employment.

I have also had legal work, proper contracts etc, but another trick is that they put down a lower salary on the official documents and top it up with cash, this is what my last company did, a Spanish company by the way. They paid out lots in cash and declared some income to make it look viable, when I was made redundant this meant I was paid much less than I should have been for the package as on paper I earned less, once again it was an unpleasant situation that became nasty and this was with a legal contract.

The fact is that this is third world in such matters, it's horrifying what goes on and there are many more stories out there, this really is a banana republic pretending to be part of the developed world, this country has a very long way to go and needs to look very closely at all the bad habits and attitudes it has before blaming the current world economy for the problems it has, many of them are home grown and will take generations to out grow.

Last edited by pain-in-spain; May 3rd 2012 at 8:38 pm.
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Old May 4th 2012, 7:51 am   #29
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Quote:
Originally Posted by pain-in-spain View Post
Salaries here are amongst the lowest in Europe, if not the lowest
Yes salaries are relatively low but this statement is a massive exaggeration

Salaries are much lower in Portugal

Salaries are also much lower east of Germany

You also get lots of stuff free or nearly free in Spain; state nursery, education, uni and health, so this compensates for the low salaries

The biggest problem is the high unemployment, this also leads to the employer abuse described here, but if someone has a relatively good long term job you can live very very well in Spain for a lower income than in other countries

Also remember the low paid in other countries also live very badly. In Germany, millions of people working on mini-jobs get paid 300 euros per month (at about 3 euros per hour part-time). In the US the minimum wage is very low and there are millions of immigrants being exploited for very low pay without benefits.

Also on Spanish TV there was a young person who had gone to Germany to look for work with an engineering degree. The only work she could find was working in a bar. She said the wages for doing this were much lower than in Spain.

Last edited by cricketman; May 4th 2012 at 7:54 am.
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Old May 4th 2012, 8:52 am   #30
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Germany has no minimum wage, and yet the pay scale is much higher than Spain, and Germany is considered to be substantially more competitive than Spain:

Spain and German unit labour costs

And the German unemployment rate is a mere fraction of Spain:

German jobless rate

The U.S. minimum wage varies by state, US minimum wages but according to cmanconspiracytheory.com, the US secretly has always been the single most impoverished nation on earth, with massive unemployment, and most of the population lives in trailer parks, far worse off than anything you've ever seen in Europe:

US economy


Spain now at US great depression unemployment rate


world poverty comparison

World poverty index wiki
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