A Before and After for the Court of Justice of the European Union

A Before and After for the Court of Justice of the European Union

It is evident that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling of September 14, 2016 (Case C-596/14, de Diego Porras) declares that Spanish legislation, which eliminates any compensation for interim workers at the end of their contract, is contrary to Community Law. This ruling has generated significant reactions among social partners.

Government, employers, unions, political parties, and experts have defended different interpretations of a decision that will inevitably require substantial reforms in our labor legislation.

On the other hand, no one seems to agree on the limits established by this important ruling, not even on basic aspects such as whether it only affects the specific case or has a general scope, the types of contracts it affects—only interim or also temporary—the need to reform labor legislation, or its effects remain to be clarified.

It is necessary to mention that the ECJ had equated concepts and compensation amounts. The first preliminary question presented was based on whether Council Directive 1999/70/EC on temporary work, which aims to equalize the «working conditions» of permanent and temporary workers, was applicable to compensation for contract termination. Thus, the ECJ considers «since the compensation is granted to the worker for the termination of the employment contract that binds him to his employer […], it is therefore included in the concept of ‘working conditions’.»

This directive will apply, as Article 4.1 cannot treat temporary workers less favorably than «comparable permanent workers,» except where there are objective and reasonable reasons justifying such differentiation, not inequality.

In this specific case, the ECJ reasoned that the worker replaced a union representative—permanent—and covered the same functions and, therefore, should not have been dismissed with a lower compensation than that granted to permanent workers in cases of objective dismissal.

However, there are significant doubts about the objective relevance of this ruling in the ECJ’s decision, as it is now up to the state to modify its regulations to comply with the European directive, which preceded the ruling and in accordance with Article 96 of the Constitution.

However, it should be noted that directives do not generally have direct application in relations between individuals except in very exceptional cases.

It is evident that the courts and tribunals of the social order will begin to recognize higher compensation for the termination of interim contracts, and even for temporary workers.

It is necessary to reflect on the types of temporary contracts to which the ECJ’s doctrine would apply. In this regard, the preliminary question raised by the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid by mentioning «temporary contracts» is very important.

Therefore, there is a risk that workers with temporary contracts, and when there is comparable permanent work in the same workplace, could file a claim demanding compensation of 20 days’ salary per year of work, instead of the current 12 days’ salary established by law.

Consequently, the ECJ ruling marks a before and after, and although it does not entail changing Spanish legislation, judges and tribunals will have to apply its content jurisprudentially.

Therefore, it will now be up to the legislator to promulgate national labor legislation to accommodate the meaning of this ruling, as the exegesis of the ECJ’s interpretation will now come. The ruling establishes that an interim worker performing the same functions as the person they replace, and whose contract ends, must receive compensation identical to that which would correspond to the replaced worker.

Today, there are several compensations in Spanish legislation when the employment relationship ends: 12 days per year worked for temporary contracts, 20 days per year for permanent employees dismissed for objective reasons, and 33 days per year for permanent employees who have suffered unfair dismissal, and 0 days of compensation for training or apprenticeship workers or interim workers, but now interim workers are penalized with compensation identical to that of permanent workers.

It is evident that Spanish labor law is far from the «legal winds blowing in Europe.» And it is undoubtedly necessary to understand this ruling as a step towards labor rights equality. However, it is equally true that the Spanish legal framework must be equated with the Community framework, both in burdens for the employer and benefits for the worker, because if we only equalize penalties, we risk further penalizing job creation in Spain; when the legal equalization could be carried out by equalizing compensation between permanent and temporary workers, reducing the penalties for objective dismissal of permanent employees.

Going Shopping to Decide Which Party to Vote For

Going Shopping to Decide Which Party to Vote For

To decide which political force to vote for, this weekend I went shopping at various malls in Madrid.

First, I went to the Podemos Shopping Center. I was struck by the fact that even in the parking lot, everything was full of Venezuelan, Cuban, Catalan esteladas, ikurriñas, Andalusian republican, and Spanish state flags. Right at the entrance to the center, there were some morally and politically corrupt students from the Marxist-Complutense University of Madrid. They were talking about creating a commune-cooperative to use the academic center to cultivate marijuana, all thanks to a subsidy from the current rector. While they played Argentine and Bolivian accented musical notes on their old guitars, the stench of their bodies, like incense, created the necessary atmosphere to celebrate a secular-atheist mass and they loudly recited the thousands of commandments of their satanic religion.

After getting past the entrance, I was surprised to see that the shelves were empty, the ceiling lights flickered, sparked, or were burnt out. A rotund steward with a large mustache and a Venezuelan accent, resembling Maduro, said that «the store is empty due to the conspiracies of right-wing and capitalist oligarchies trying to destroy the People’s store.»

Later, a manager named Monedero, according to the badge on his chest, quickly explained to me that no money was used in this mall and that everything could be acquired through barter. Stunned by his explanation, I said: «Buy what? The shelves are empty!» He responded by calling me a «capitalist-consumerist pig.»

Once I got away from Monedero, I found a long-haired salesman in charge of a bookstore full of old books. Archaic volumes of Marxist thought, books that were not for sale, you could only borrow them to read in the center’s reading room, just like reading the Koran in a madrasa.

As I was leaving that gloomy place, I passed through the technology area, where a large crowd gathered around a few old televisions, showing strange programs I had never seen before. These were television programs that had the power to bring viewers to their knees, praising the televangelists who demanded absolute loyalty to the Religo-Communism-New Age, asking everyone to be ready for «the final struggle.»

After fleeing the Podemos Shopping Center, I followed a friend’s advice and headed to the Ciudadano Shopping Center. As soon as I got out of the car, I saw the happy faces of people and families crossing the parking lot with joyful steps on a sunny Sunday morning, heading toward that haven of peace and joy. Everyone was smiling, all bodies were athletic, the ladies were beautiful, the men tall and with abundant hair, and the children looked like they came out of a «Disneyland» commercial.

I was surprised to see such perfect homogeneity, it seemed strange to me, there wasn’t a single wrinkle on the faces of the older ones, sorry, there were no older people! No one had an extra gram of fat, I felt like I was surrounded by actors or models about to do a «flashmob.»

The aisles of the shopping center were filled with organic, biological, gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, fat-free, calorie-free, excipient-free, and additive-free food. Large posters preached the harms of hamburgers, fast food, calamari sandwiches, patatas bravas, and pork and other processed meats. Almost nauseous from the pain of conscience caused by my bad eating habits, I left the area of false delicacies and foods.

The boutique of the Ciudadano Store was full of clothes from the best brands, and I felt like trying on some pants and shirts. After several minutes in the fitting rooms, I realized that all sizes, regardless of manufacturer and style, were very, very, very small, made only for skeletons and deformed runway bodies. It’s not that I’m fat, but if I don’t eat some serrano ham and torrijas, I’ll start losing hair.

Everything I saw in this shopping center seemed like a summary of Aldous Huxley’s «Brave New World,» where everyone I saw seemed to regularly consume their dose of «Soma» or lived painlessly in the frames of «Logan’s Run.»

Seeing that my shopping day was going badly, I decided to head to the city center, looking to satisfy my shopping desires in an urban, historical, traditional shopping center, what some consumers would call «Casta» stores.

Centro Comerciales Socialistas Obreros y Españoles (CCSOE) was in the past the most important distribution chain in Ex-Spain, they were everywhere, through their franchise system of Casas del Pueblo.

I remember as a child, how a former general director of CCSOE with a marked Sevillian accent would go out to the balcony of his main office on Calle Ferraz, back in 1982, to celebrate CCSOE’s sales successes.

I had already been told that this shopping center was «in decline,» but there were memories from my childhood of walking through aisles full of all kinds of products, at good prices, and open to the market economy.

When I crossed the access door, I observed that what was once a spacious area full of boutiques without walls and obstacles, was now fragmented and divided, and what used to be a prosperous united store was now divided into small shops within a large building. Each «little shop» had a different name, I didn’t understand anything, CCSOE had «fragmented» into CCSOE.cat, CCSOE.esk, CCSOE.val, CCSOE.and, CCSOE.ext, CCSOE…

It was already late afternoon, and my shopping bags were as empty as the stomach of ‘Lazarillo de Tormes’. I was heading home when, passing through Calle Génova, I remembered I had forgotten to visit the Popular Shopping Center, a place that allowed you to pay for your purchases «in cash, by credit card, in B money, and in envelopes,» at the convenience of its customers.

Undoubtedly, the Popular Shopping Center outdid its competitors for many reasons. On the one hand, all its employees were civil servants in the morning and sellers in the afternoon, its aisles were full of property registrars, notaries, state attorneys, tax inspectors, judges, and prosecutors. However, curiously, most of its customers are entrepreneurs.

The Popular Shopping Center always stood out for its wide range of products, they had everything and for everyone: items for liberals, conservatives, Christian democrats, social democrats, Carlists, monarchists, republicans, atheists. A young general director, with a funny mustache and a charming Valladolid accent, had turned a small shop into a national chain by the late 90s.

With the firm conviction of buying some items for a special dinner, I headed to the wine cellar, looking for a bottle of Rioja or Ribera del Duero. Suddenly, two strange characters approached me. The first was a tall man with a white beard, glasses, and a Pontevedra accent. The second was a short woman. They both grabbed my shoulders and in a dictatorial voice asked: «Where are you going? What do you want to buy?» To which I replied: «A bottle of wine.» They responded: «Can you drink the wine you want, and in the quantity you like?» My answer, as a liberal, was: «Yessssss!»

Moral: every Spaniard should remember the content of article 6 of the Spanish Constitution in the next general elections, and given the poor service our politicians are providing to the common welfare of all Spaniards, I prefer to keep voting based on ideology and common sense.

Those of us who still believe in Spain must demand a greater citizen role within the closed structures of political parties, in order to prevent incompetent councils, who wouldn’t pass a simple job interview, from leading the destiny of a nation with 500 years of history. Therefore, in these upcoming elections, I will vote based on ideology and not personalism. By the way, beware of populism.

How to Double the Number of Employees in a Law Firm?

How to Double the Number of Employees in a Law Firm?

Human resource management is the cornerstone of running a law firm because the credentials and values of these professionals determine the successful outcome of each case they handle.

Security, firmness, agility, guts, valor, courage, and strength are essential traits for anyone aspiring to be a successful lawyer. These traits can be developed and improved with the necessary work and training. However, let us now ask ourselves: are there currently any teaching mechanisms in Spanish universities or any other educational institutions that enhance these traits? The answer is clear and simple: no!

Therefore, those of us who select other professionals for incorporation into a law firm, especially young profiles, should not focus so much on technical and theoretical training, as it is worth little or nothing if the candidate has never been invited to step out of their comfort zone to face personal risks that, subsequently, will allow them to put into practice the knowledge learned in the Academy.

Many times, I have heard university professors, especially those allergic to the noble practice of law, say, “in law, you either know it or you don’t.” Thus, these poor bureaucrats with caps encourage from their chairs and from their offices, smelling of old and rusted books, and strive to inoculate the advantages of those who will have a salary for life, as advertised by a major coffee company.

Initially, there would be nothing despicable about having a lifelong salary, if it were not for the fact that those who least need to struggle to survive inevitably see their personal comfort zone shrinking inversely proportional as the years go by. However, it is not all the responsibility of university professors because if we survey the students of any first-year law group at any Spanish university, more than 70% would answer, “I want to take a civil service exam.” This answer resonates like the sound of tormented souls being taken out of purgatory, hung on the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as if that unquenchable fire were synonymous with private activity, business, and entrepreneurship.

Undoubtedly, Max Weber, in his book «The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,» can help us understand where, sociologically speaking, the source of values and professional traits of that person who daily fights against their fears and insecurities to become more efficient and stronger in their professional sphere lies, which will also eventually encompass their personal life.

So now I think we should ask how to double the number of lawyers in a firm. The answer, at first, will also have to do with the increase in the number of clients, right? Of course, it will. So, how can we increase or double the number of clients? Undoubtedly, this is the key question, but its answer is entirely linked to the first question because there is no better business generator in a law firm than the lawyer himself, right? The responsibility for managing each client’s matter lies primarily and ultimately with the lawyer, making each lawyer an ambassador for their firm.

So, are the best records from each university those who will become the best legal professionals? The answer, once again, is simple: no!

Why? Because most of them, if they have not received or strengthened their own security, firmness, agility, guts, valor, courage, and strength through an extra-academic means, particularly through a personal environment that inoculates those values, will ultimately be nothing more than law graduates actively seeking employment, as if employment, besides being sought, could not be self-generated through entrepreneurship; which essentially involves striving to expand your comfort zone.

Consequently, a law firm grows in the number of professionals and clients when it values each candidate more for their ATTITUDES than for their aptitudes, and to do this, the person must be known better than the project of the professional in the job interview.

Finally, and after subscribing to each word of this article, it would be very unjust not to demand a profound university reform, in order to put it at the service of society, and not the other way around as it has been until now. And I say the other way around because we experienced lawyers are the ones making true legal professionals, even fighting against many of the technical and moral dogmas that new graduates bring from the sterile academic campus. Undoubtedly, the aforementioned reform can only come about by abolishing the figure of the university professor as a public servant, since the bureaucrat with a cap can never, ever, extract the skills that a lawyer needs; this is because the comfort zone of the bureaucrat with a cap can never, in any case, be equal in size and dimension to what a lawyer needs.

Dad, Why Do We Keep Voting for the PP?

Dad, Why Do We Keep Voting for the PP?

I fondly remembered the advertising campaign launched by Atlético de Madrid during the 2001-2002 season, the one where the child asks his father: «Dad, why are we Atlético fans?»

On December 20th, as I headed to the polling station, I asked myself why I continue voting for the Partido Popular. Before casting my vote, and feeling a bit concerned, I called my father for advice. He had always been a member of Reforma Democrática, a party led by Don Manuel Fraga. I then sought advice from an old schoolteacher who had always been a member of Unión del Pueblo Español.

I continued my inquiries, asking a good friend who had always supported Acción Democrática Española. I even asked the family doctor, who had always been with Democracia Social. Not satisfied yet, I spoke with my neighborhood baker, who had always held a membership card for Acción Regional. And an old trade unionist, who never stopped being part of Unión Social Popular. I even spoke with the parish priest of my village, a lifelong supporter of Unión Nacional Española.

The omnipotent power given to the president of the PP since 1989 has been eroding internal democracy. With all these conversations, I recalled the nuances and details that once constituted the Spanish center-right. Coalición Democrática, Partido Liberal, Partido Democrático Progresista, Renovación Española, and Partido Demócrata Popular were not just acronyms initially integrated into Alianza Popular—and later merged into Partido Popular—but they represented the real representation of the various groups and families that, since the first Spanish Constitution of 1812, formed the center-right family in Spain.

That alphabet soup was undoubtedly a strong and healthy ideological conglomerate, where each party had its own identity. This lasted until the PP’s refounding congress in January 1989. That congress allowed the PP to reach Moncloa, but the omnipotent power given to the president of the new party has been eroding the internal democracy required by any political organization, as demanded by Article 6 of our Constitution.

Many nights, I watch with healthy envy the electoral debates of the U.S. Republican Party as they search for their presidential candidate for November. Undoubtedly, it is not easy to reach an agreement within the party among people with ideologies as diverse as those represented by Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or Donald Trump. Each of them responds to the details and nuances of that center-right liberal spectrum in the United States.

Why can’t PP voters choose our leader like the Republicans in the United States? But why can’t PP voters choose our political leader as it is done in the United States? Can’t our ideological nuances—more or less conservative, more or less liberal, more or less Christian-democratic—be authentically and democratically reflected within the party? Do we need to endure forever the foolocracy represented by the PP leaders?

Do we need to attend PP congresses like the parties of the Communist Party of the USSR? Should we continue watching, impassively, as sycophants in chambers and town halls applaud the artificially imposed leader until their hands bleed? Does the sectarian oligarchy of state lawyers, the Soraya clique, the bodyguards of Marianismo have the right to indefinitely usurp our conservative or liberal ideology?

The answer to all my questions is no. But since I cannot freely choose the next candidate of my party for the general elections, since we see day after day how the organization disintegrates amidst passivity due to the serious suspicions of corruption, and since we have had to endure our own leader telling us that «if anyone wants to go to the liberal or conservative party, let them go»—and yet we are still here—we must be allowed to remember that many of us continue to firmly believe in a simple center-right electoral program. And that program can be summarized as: Rule of Law, unity of Spain, respect for private property, low tax pressure, a non-interventionist State, and protection of life.

I want to call on all people who agree with this brief program to demand internal democracy within the PP, for all of us to demand that the organization convene an extraordinary refounding congress, as it would be very sad to vote for the PP only out of fear of the extreme left. This way, I can explain to my son why I continue to vote for the Partido Popular.

In Defense of Liberalism

In Defense of Liberalism

In a few hours, Spanish citizens will face the twelfth legislative elections since the transition to democracy, and the first with Felipe VI as King of Spain. These elections, compared to previous ones, represent a great challenge for our nation and a prelude to significant changes.

The so-called ‘emerging’ parties were initially a breath of fresh air against the traditional Spanish bipartisanship. Since 1982, PSOE and PP have alternated in power until today, generating a long period of democratic stabilization.

However, bipartisanship seems worn out, partly due to the generational change represented by those under 30, many of whom feel disaffection towards the 1978 Constitution. Undoubtedly, sociology will have to explain why this is happening.

In my opinion, a low-quality educational system like ours has caused many of our young people not to grow up with entrepreneurial attitudes. Entrepreneurship should be promoted through education, although our current university system is far from this goal. On the contrary, it fosters social sheepishness under the umbrella of the single-minded thinking of an outdated and conservative left.

From a liberal ideology, on the other hand, true wealth and well-being can be created. Our ideology advocates for individual rights, which are the pillars on which social and economic progress rests. Thus, in our Rule of Law, we must all be equal before the law, without privileges, adhering to a legal framework that protects individual freedoms and collective well-being simultaneously.

With these guarantees, the elements that promote the existence of free citizens can be achieved, with minimal state intervention, minimal tax pressure, and limited commercial regulations. All this will allow the engine of national economic development to be in the hands of each citizen.

It is undeniable that the state has significant obligations to the citizen, but the most important one is to foster their development and growth from childhood, through adolescence, and into youth within a serious and rigorous educational framework, free from archaic ideologies that preach fear and favor immaturity and irresponsibility. These ideologies develop collective insecurities, attitudes that rival meritocracy and effort, strangling personal merit in favor of the poor inefficiencies of an egalitarian state that rewards the mediocre and the brave alike. The party that wins the elections will have to address the revision of the public education sector in Spain, placing private companies at the helm of each university to manage this public sphere effectively.

There are no liberal positions in the political programs of PSOE, Podemos, or Ciudadanos. These three options seek to perpetuate in the consciousness of Spaniards the fears and insecurities that make them prisoners of their environment.

Profound educational reforms, privately managed healthcare, greater presence in international politics, the creation of an Economic Community of Latin American Countries, an energy plan based on nuclear energy, the recovery of state competencies, a genuine separation of powers, and the imposition of plural and dynamic processes for the selection of candidates within political parties, plus the suppression of professional politicians, are essential programmatic elements of the liberal spirit found in parts of the PP.

At this moment, and paraphrasing Kennedy, we must remember that phrase, «Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.» And our politicians must learn that «true freedom consists of being able to say to everyone, even those things they do not want to hear.»

error: Content is protected !!