thebadPoll: Working in Spain

This poll was inspired by a brief conversation I had with a couple of other expats over at another website. The discussion started as a debate about January 6th being made a ‘new public holiday’ – which made little sense to me as Magic Kings’ day already was a holiday.

A generally held view seems to be that the last thing Spain needs is more public holidays, but I couldn’t quite establish whether the people who were espousing this POV were themselves employed in Spain, or whether they simply wanted to be able to go shopping whenever they wanted and sod the workers.

So what do you think? Do you work in Spain? How does your company treat you? Has Spain caught up with the UK in terms of worker exploitation modern labour practices? Is Spain a good place to work? As usual, you can select one answer from the list on the right >>> but it’s your comments that I’m most interested in.

3 thoughts on “thebadPoll: Working in Spain

  1. I did 3 years at the HQ of an Ibex35 company. I was generally treated pretty well, but jumped back to working for my previous (UK/US-based) employer when the opportunity came up to work for them, while staying in Spain (moving back to Reading did not appeal). Mainly because of better salary, benefits & flexibility.

    The long lunches are a pain. 9-2 & 4-7 is still the standard horario here. If you live near enough to the office to go home then I guess it is great, but 95% of the guys I worked with had an hour commute into Madrid… so you eat your lunch, and then go back to your desk (the Menu del Dia is not in the budget of most mileuristas). Most of my colleagues ended up doing at least an hour’s overtime during lunch.

    Or at least they appeared to… clocking the hours still seems to more important than producing results. Since going back to work in a more results oriented environment, I apreciate tht no-once cares if I take an afternoon off, as long as I am available for an emergency and my targetds are delivered.

    In terms of people I know or know of, exploitation here is a different league to the UK. I have friends working in retail who only have 25% of their hours declared – the rest in cash. means they have barely any pension or Unemployment benefit acrued.

    A romanian friend worked 6 nights a week for a month a month in a restaurant and the owner then refused to pay her a penny. As it was cash in hand (or not as it turned out) the authorities were not interested. I hope his profits from her free labour lasted longer than the windows on his BMW did.

    This guy is a “bad apple” but there are a lot of bad apple businessmen here. I spent many years in teh UK working in Factories, retail, restraunts etc. no-one ever missed a NI contribution, or salary check. here it seems to be the norm in some sectors.

  2. I work as a results-driven consultant at an engineering company, the hours are long (as most people seem to believe that the more hours in the office the better), but I try to do 9-6 or there abouts as I dont enjoy long lunch breaks and work through it.

    They treat me reasonably well, in general terms, but the job insecurity is high and nobody here seems to have heard of the NO BLAME CULTURE when things go wrong.

    It is a very big family-owned and Madrid-based company, and it seems that all that goes wrong between Catalonia and Spain is reproduced here at a different scale!

    All in all, not too bad. They pay is better that what I had back in the UK, but the working conditions are worse, I feel…

  3. I have very limited work experience outside Spain – my first job after college was after I imigrated here – so all I can really attest to is that I have had two very positive experiences.

    Working hours can be longer than 9-5, but that is completely up to the employee (again, in my experience, I haven’t worked in retail which may be a different story). If you choose to work 10-7, with an hour for lunch, up to you as long as your work get done. If you prefer 9-5.30, with just half an hour for a sandwich, nobody will bat an eyelid. I appreciate the flexibility, and that if our office want to stop work for 30 minutes to celebrate somebody’s birthday, we feel free to do that and make up the time later.

    Workers will always have to push for their rights, Spain is no socialist paradise, but here at least the government and the judiciary appear to actively favour workers’ rights in case of dispute.

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