When he found out, he called between laughter and tears. “Mom, they made me permanent,” Lorena Rodriguez Suarez announced after her company informed her of her permanent contract. “I couldn’t believe it. At first I felt great joy. Then I cried, laughed, danced… I didn’t know how to express everything I felt,” a 25-year-old worker explains to elDiario.es. The retail industry is now seven years old and this is his first open-ended contract.Lorena, as well as Ismael, Raquel and Sarah, are young people who have agreed to open-ended contracts with the approval of the labor reform and emphasize, above all, the “calm” they feel. “Being a temporary employee, you feel anxiety every day. What will happen to me tomorrow, will they upgrade me? Will they kick me out? Will I find something else?” Lorena says.
A young woman, a resident of Tenerife, has been working since the age of 18. He went through many companies and temporary contracts. Although there were often no posts. “In stores, it’s quite normal that you are temporary. I worked in companies where we were all temporary, except for some managers,” he explains. Lorena lives on her own, and when she lost one of her jobs and couldn’t find another quickly, she had to ask her parents for help. “And not once, but several times. No matter how hard you try, with so many temporary contracts, you will not get rid of unemployment. Although the parents are unconditionally there, it is inconvenient to ask for help,” she says.
The Canarian woman has been working since March as a mobile brand promoter in the large field of electronic products. He secured a temporary contract for a vacant position for a man who ultimately had no intention of returning to his position. In mid-April, she received a call to sign a new contract. This time indefinitely. “I didn’t expect at all that they would make me permanent and less so quickly,” says Lorena Rodriguez Suarez, who believes her stabilization is due to labor reform.
Raquel from Barcelona, who will soon turn 27, thinks the same. She has been working in a travel company, performing marketing functions, since 2019. She, like other colleagues, had six-month “internship” contracts, and made them permanent last month. “They are changing some of us,” says Raquel. Switching to permanent contracts for no apparent reason, so everyone intuitively understands that they are motivated by new labor laws that are stricter on temporary contracts and carry higher penalties for fraud.
Ismael Fernandez, 21, is not that he feels it, but that he knows that his indefinite contract is a consequence of labor reform. A young man from Malaga accepted his first job a few months ago, a part-time job in a warehouse for a large multinational textile company. “We had monthly contracts. When I started, I thought that it would not be for long, that at some point I would be fired and transferred to another employee. But recently we learned that those who have served for more than half a year are going to become permanent because a new law has appeared. And, in his case, they made it indefinite in the month of April.
Sarah, a 34-year-old health administrator, thinks the new regulatory framework has saved her another three months by being temporary. Like many other companies, although his position was structural, he was told that he had to enter into several temporary three-month contracts. In a year, if all goes well, it will be made permanent. She still had three months left as temporary, but in April she received a call and was told that this time the contract she would sign would be indefinite. “I am very happy. I have been working since I was 15 and this is my second permanent contract,” explains a worker from the province of Barcelona.
Live with “peace of mind” for the next day
“How many storms have I had? Temporary?”; Sarah repeats the question from elDiario.es. “Uuuuuu, in 15 years of work I have seen them in all colors … I have been in about 11 or 12 different companies, but I cannot tell you how many contracts Many, many,” explains the worker, who at 34 is finally celebrating stability in order to live more peacefully with her husband and two disabled children.
Four of the young people surveyed emphasize the word “peace” as what their new indefinite contracts gave them the most, four of the record 700,000 that were signed in April with the start of the labor reform. Many of them were signed by young people like them, who suffered the most from temporary work.
On the other hand, what was worst about temporary contracts, they point to constant “anxiety” at the thought that they were not going to be renewed, “fear” of wasting time looking for a new job, and inability to make plans or make decisions due to uncertainty about whether that they won’t work next month.
“I’m not at home, I’m from another province,” explains Raquel, who lives in Barcelona, but not from there. “With temporary contracts, you always have to know if they are renewing you, and if not, you have to see if you can afford this apartment, if you need to change, if you will lose the deposit if you have to return home …”, the girl says. In many cases, the decisions are not so far-reaching, but they determine day by day. “I have to know if I get paid next month to sign up for a gym or not,” he says by way of example.
With temporary contracts, you always have to know if they renew you, and if not, you have to see if you can afford your apartment, if you need to change, if you will lose the deposit if you need to go home,…
Ismael Fernandez notes the guaranteed income that this contract entails. “I train the opposition and use my salary to pay for academies, which are very expensive,” he says. While the store should have been happy with it, when it came time to upgrade it, they didn’t trust it. “You don’t have them 100% with you. Now, if I don’t do something really bad or something like that, I know that I will have a job and a paycheck to keep preparing for the opposition. It gives a lot of peace of mind,” he celebrates.
Sarah’s indefinite contract gives her extra peace of mind. Having two disabled children, one of whom is very dependent, she needs to work with a watch that can be adapted to her toddler care needs. And it’s not easy to find. He knows this well, because when the temporary contract ended, he had to restore the wanted list. “Really, the worst thing about temporary contracts is going back to Inem again. Come back again to ask for social assistance, explain that “they fired me again.” I was very ashamed, no one likes to ask for it,” says the administrator.
When being temporary means “not having rights”
The vulnerability of a temporary worker is not only the possibility of losing your job in the short term, young workers explain, but also that you are exposed to greater employment insecurity. “When you are temporary, your rights are always in the background or third. You can’t get sick because they won’t call you back. This happened to me during a store pandemic and that was the protocol for COVID. You were told that if you are sick, then do not go for three days until you see what happened. Well, they didn’t call me again, ”condemns Sarah.
“You are also afraid to ask if you can go with the kids if they need it, and you have to juggle because you can’t miss your post,” the admin adds. “When you are temporary, you are sold, you have no right to anything,” he complains.
I always left work with one arm in front and one in the back. Now, if something happened and I got fired one day, at least I would get severance pay.
Lorena Rodriguez Suarez, who studies law remotely and has previously worked more on the job, agrees with the vulnerability of temporary workers. “You’re wrong about one place, but you think, ‘I’d better wait’ because you don’t know if you’ll find something else. When I had an exam, you feel like you can’t say anything. Now I have more freedom to say if I can leave half an hour early and catch up on another day. You know you have support,” he explains.
If these contracts ended in dismissal, they would receive higher compensation than when they had to leave their positions at the end of the temporary contract. “I always left all jobs with one hand in front and the other behind. Now, if something happens and I get fired one day, at least I will have severance pay,” Lorena appreciates.
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