30,000 jobs lost in mass lay-offs in Spain

by Deborah Cater
30,000 jobless following mass lay-offs
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Due to re-organisations at NH Hotel Group, El Corte Inglés and Siemens Gamesa among others, there are 30,000 lay-offs in Spain. They are the result of a lack of demand and increased digitisation processes.

For most of these 30,000 lost jobs, a definitive redundancy scheme ERE has been put in place. A considerably smaller element concerns alternative schemes such as early retirement or voluntary severance schemes.

Tourism

NH Hotel Group announced in February this year it would cut 295 jobs. Ultimately, there were 187 redundancies, around 60% less than forecast. Within the hard-hit tourism sector, cruise line Pullmantur also announced it will be losing 300 employees. Meanwhile, Iberostar’s travel department W2M is reducing almost half of its workforce – 246 employees. At Iberia no EUA arrangements have been made, but 2,344 employees will disappear from the payroll because their temporary contracts are not renewed.

Industrial sector

The pandemic also led to a large number of forced redundancies in the automotive sector. For example, at the Ford plant in Almussafes (Valencia) 630 temporary ERTE schemes converted into definitive redundancy schemes. Within this sector, 99 employees of car tyre manufacturer Euromaster also lost their jobs permanently. Bosch Autoservice is moving its production from Barcelona to Poland, resulting in the loss of 336 jobs in Spain.

At wind turbine producer Siemens Gamesa, the closure of the factories in As Somozas and Cuenca means the retirement of 266 personnel. In addition, metal producer Tubacex entered 129 of its employees into an ERE scheme.

Food sector

Despite the fact the crisis initially did not hit the food industry too severely, the long-term closure of the catering industry has nevertheless had major consequences. For example, Heineken Spain placed 228 of its employees into an early retirement scheme. Coca-Cola European Partners says goodbye to 360 employees after the closure of the factory in Málaga. Dairy producer Pascual halves its workforce with definite lay-offs for 137 employees.

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Danone’s international reorganisation plan has resulted in 160 redundancies in Spain and Portugal. Worldwide, no less than 1,850 jobs will be lost at this company. Catering giant Beer & Food (owner of Tommy Mel’s and Gambrinus, among others) lets go 125 of its employees. Food service company Eurest Compass also places 400 employees into an ERE scheme.

Retail

In addition to the declining demand for products, the increased digitisation in the retail sector has also resulted in lay-offs. As a result of online sales, the Spanish department store El Corte Inglés made arrangements for no less than 3,292 employees a few weeks ago. This mainly concerns voluntary redundancy schemes for store personnel.

For the same reason, H&M has entered into 1,100 EUA settlements and is closing 30 more store branches in Spain this year. Adolfo Domínguez says goodbye to 30% of the workforce with 300 layoffs. The redundancies resulting from Inditex’s strategy to close another 300 stores by 2022 have not been included in this figure. The closure of 91 Douglas stores in Spain means job losses for 500 employees. Furthermore, the iconic toy chain Imaginarium, recently closed for good after 27 years. That means laying off more than 100 employees. Finally, white goods chain Worten is closing 14 branches which allows the company to remove 212 employees from the payroll.

Financial sector

However, most of the redundancies in Spain are in the banking sector, where major mergers and digitisation processes have resulted in massive job losses in the past year. Here, almost two thirds of the total of 30,000 jobs disappeared. That amounts to 10% of all jobs in the financial sector.

At the end of 2020, Banco Santander carried out the largest round of redundancies in its history with final lay-offs of 3,572 employees. BBVA is still negotiating with the unions about the dismissal of 3,000 employees and Ibercaja will also cut 750 of its current jobs. At Sabadell 1,817 employees lost their jobs and the takeover of CaixaBank by Bankia will result in no less than 8,000 definitive dismissal schemes. The recently approved merger between Unicaja and Liderbank will cost the Spanish labour market another 2,000 jobs.

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