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Spain – Staffing firm’s dismissal of workers due to union activity “invalid”

02 August 2012

A Labour Court in Santander, Spain, has this week declared the dismissal of 10 workers employed by the temporary employment agency, Nexian, as invalid after the employees were made redundant for their participation in union activities. 

The court ruled that there were clear signs of breach with the staffing firm not allowing its workers the freedom of right to belong and be active in an association, such as a union. It therefore ruled the dismissals of the workers were invalid and ordered the company to reinstate the employees and pay for the lost income, from the date of redundancy to the date of reinstatement.

The workers, who were all employed in telemarketing, were made redundant on 2 April 2012. The letter of dismissal stated that the workers showed “inappropriate” behaviour for participating in a general strike which occurred on 29 March 2012. The redundancies were therefore classified to be of “disciplinary” nature.

The strike received much publicity and showed the workers holding banners which made provocative remarks about Nexian and its senior management. The company said this was a “very serious offense” to the firm.

However, the company had also known about the workers’ union activity with the Confederation of Workers Commission (CCOO) and were aware of their employees wanting to take part in an upcoming union election.

The Labour Court therefore ruled there was sufficient evidence to indicate corporate “retaliation” with the company keen to dismiss the workers due to their union activities. The Judge rejected the argument that the dismissals could be justified as “disciplinary”. The union now expects the workers will be reinstated “as soon as possible.”

Nexian operates a large network of offices throughout Spain and, according to the company’s website, one of its corporate values is “promoting equality, diversity and justice in the workplace”.

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