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In Spain, if you work for a Trade Union, a Party, or for a state foundation, (The Corporate Statre), you can recieve anything. From luxury cars, driver, laptop, etc, to endless hours at work, a meager salary, and all kind of unexpected, disgusting, and somehow illegal surprises. “This do not -only- depends on your connections dear Joe, but, taking into account the prevailing chaos, of pure luck”. Sometimes this ‘unfair’ situation is recognized and rewarded….

Now, different but related, when you want to fire someone you have to pay a fixed amount. If you have ‘real’ problems and you make a mass redundancy, you have to pay less. The government is the one that go throughh your balance sheet and guarantees The Unions that you are not lying. After that, a agreement can be forged. Finally, there was a subsidy in Andalusia for companies with big problems, to make the redundancy easier anf guarante its survival. That´s the THEORY. Now, how did it really go? You are in trouble and you go to a lawyer to do all the paperwork. The very lawyer or the Union guys will tell you that he can’t help you. That you must go to This ot That buffete. Once there, you pay their fee and an extra of 12.000 euros in cash or, if you do not usually work underground, through bank for a false service: Say, you suddenly  need to review your factory sewage. The buffete will give you the bill on behalf of the other company. After that you go to one Union (CCOO) and you pay 6.000 euros. You go to anothe Union (UGT) and you pay 6.000. Your (new) lawyer will tell you who must receive this. Now you have your agreement with the Workers Unions. They will “convince” the workers and also, by several rules that protect the Unions, the agreement it´s almost mandatory for your workers. Now, on the track again, you present the agreement to the government, and its (always) approved. You recieve a letter that say you so, and a list of the workers affected. Surprise! There are 8 guys yo do not know. Your -connected- lawyer and the state owned charity ( IDEA Foundation) that gives the subsidy tell you that they will pay for the extra 8. That they belong to other companies too small to qualify for the subsidy. The subsidy means that they will pay for you to an insurance company that pays your workers + 8. You pay a bit, but far less than you ought to. Suddenly the government stop paying to the insurer. The insurer to the workers. And the workers come to visit you. No answer from your ex (connected) lawyer. The insurance company sues you for all your workers payments  (no mention about other companies and the extra 8). You watch the news and the talk about scandal, fraud… you find out that the extra-8 are politicans of the ruling party (PSOE) or unionists. One of them has been in your company since the day he (the politician, a former minister) was born.

Asked by media, our Joe, do you remember him? the poorly paid Unionist? He is in its 45s and he declares that he new that it was extrange to get a life pay, from the State, for servicies in a company he had never worked for… but that he had started working for the Union very young, in the hard days of the dictatorship, that his salary has always been scarce, and that this a a compensation for all his efforts for the public interes.  And I believe, that he believes…

Finally, while the trial starts, the insurance company claims deter credit, and your company closes. All the workers are fired. No one of them receives a golden-parachute, and the ones that had it before, do not have their monthly checks. Nice end for the Andalusian economy.

PS: I have been unable to find Joe´s real name. But the politician that started working in his first day of life is Antonio Fernandez García, ex-regional minister of Employment.

Ps2: If you want to know what´s the problem of which this is the sympthom, read “Fixing the crisis in Spain: History rules…” http:/wp.me/p2KoGX-4