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PSOE unveils plan to halt layoffs and evictions

Source: El Pais - Mon 6th May 2013
PSOE unveils plan to halt layoffs and evictions

The PSOE yesterday announced a plan to revive the troubled Spanish economy in order to stem rising unemployment, prevent further layoffs and to alleviate the effect of the recession on families.

Opposition leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba presented his proposals after a meeting with party chiefs in Madrid. The meaures suggest the state awards credits from now until 2015 to companies that do not sack workers and the creation of a national fund worth €10 billion that out-of-work families in danger of eviction can tap to meet their debts with the banks.

The PSOE believes that the unemployment rate of 27% - some 6.2 million people - is evidence that the government's austerity measures have failed and that credit flows to the private sector needs to be encouraged. The main opposition party also wants a debt-restructuring plan for families unable to meet their mortgage payments, with "the eventual losses to be met equally by the state and the lender that sold the mortgage." The €10-billion fund would be open to families who find themselves in dire straits "for unexpected reasons" such as unemployment.

The PSOE said that the funds could be tapped from the "credit line open with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which still has €60 million available" after Spain's banking sector bailout. Rubalcaba also suggested drawing a €20-billion fund from the ESM to finance companies, encourage self-employment and to give Spanish companies a nudge into global markets.

In its proposal to stem the tide of mass layoffs, the PSOE proposes that salaries at companies in financial trouble be reduced, but financed 50% by the state. If the worker is over 50 years old, the government should pick up 60% of the bill. The opposition noted that the system already functions in Germany, where companies who have tapped the state to avoid laying off staff "have more than 1.5 million employees combined."

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