A Closer Look

Spain : Safety net frays as care workers go unpaid, regions revolt, but more cuts demanded

Spain’s safety net frays as care workers go unpaid | Reuters

Reteurs: Mercedes Garcia, the director of a residency for severely mentally disabled adults, has a crisis in her kitchen.

Two caterers have been supplying and preparing food for the centre’s 46 patients for free for almost a year; the other 18 recently decided they’d had it and refused to provide further service without payment up front.

The residency has been running on fumes for months because the local government, squeezed by austerity measures to combat the euro zone debt crisis, has not paid its share of expenses.

“All of the residents here will need 24-hour care from cradle to grave, but our carers can’t continue their own lives if we don’t pay them,” an exhausted-looking Garcia told Reuters in February. Her caregivers earn 800 euros a month, just above minimum wage and not enough to tide them over when their paycheques are delayed.

One caregiver ran out in tears in the middle of a reporter’s visit, after three months without pay.

Similar crises are playing out all across Spain: street cleaners, nurses, teachers and job trainers are struggling to get by as cash-strapped local authorities withhold wages…


via Spain’s safety net frays as care workers go unpaid | Reuters.


Spain tries to head off deficit revolt 

The Irish Times: Spain’s centre-right government moved today to head off any potential rebellion by the country’s 17 autonomous regions over cost-cutting measures that are key to retaining credibility with its euro zone peers and financial markets.

Finance minister Cristobal Montoro was scheduled to meet with the financial heads from all of the regions later today to drive home the message of austerity.

The regions account for close to half of all public spending – the biggest parts of their budgets go on health and education – and almost all of them widely overshot their spending targets last year.

Spain’s country risk, as measured by the spread between its borrowing cost and that of Germany, overtook Italy’s this week as concerns have grown whether the regions, with a combined deficit of €30 billion, can tighten belts.

“There won’t be flexibility … The (central) state has taken a lot of steps, now it’s up to the autonomous regions to take the next steps,” Antonio Beteta, secretary of state for public administrations under Mr Montoro, said at a conference…


via Spain tries to head off deficit revolt – The Irish Times – Tue, Mar 06, 2012.


More cuts demanded as recession looms in Spain

wsws.org: Figures released this week show that the Spanish economy is spiralling into recession.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos declared, “There has been no recovery in the economy at any point since the start of the crisis.”

The only solution that the Popular Party (PP) government, the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are demanding is greater sacrifice from the working class.

Last week, Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro revealed that Spain’s budget deficit in 2011 amounted to 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), well above the target of 6 percent, and above the government’s own 8 percent estimate published in December. Spain had agreed with the EU, ECB and IMF to cut the deficit from 9.2 percent of GDP in 2010 to 6.0 percent by the end of 2011, 4.4 percent this year and 3.0 percent by 2013.

Last year’s deficit was €91.3 billion (US$120.5 billion)—little changed from the €98.2 billion (US$130 billion) deficit in 2010, despite a €15 billion (US$20 billion) package of austerity measures imposed in May 2010 by the previous Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government. This included tax rises, a 5 to 15 percent cut in public sector wages, raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, and changes to labour protection laws. Huge cuts in health care and education were also imposed by the regional governments.


via More cuts demanded as recession looms in Spain.

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