Labour Market Reforms – The language of strikes

BBC News – 19 February 2012

Huge Spain rallies against labour market reforms

The main unions – CCOO and UGT – mobilised people across Spain


Vocab & Phrases

mass protests


The trade unions

the turnout

severance pay


the motto


useless for jobs

to lay off


collective bargaining arrangements




Mass protests have been held across Spain against the conservative government’s labour market reforms.

The trade unions which organised the rallies said half a million protesters marched through Madrid. Police put the turnout in the capital at about 50,000.

Spanish media say protests took place in 57 towns and cities.

There was anger at a labour reform law that cuts severance pay and gives employers more flexibility over jobs. The unemployment rate has reached 23%.

The motto of the protests was “no to the labour reform that is unfair to workers, inefficient for the economy and useless for jobs,” Spain’s El Pais news website reports.

On 10 February the government of Mariano Rajoy approved a law reducing maximum severance pay to 33 days’ salary for each year worked, compared with the current 45 days.

Employers will also be able to lay workers off outside Spain’s traditional sector-wide collective bargaining arrangements.

Spain’s unemployment rate is the highest in the EU, hitting young job-seekers especially hard.






Please use the words and phrases below in the gap-fill sentences.

mass protests, reforms, trade unions, a turnout, severance pay, flexibility, the motto, inefficient, to lay off, sector-wide, job-seekers


1. We has a huge ____________ for the concert last night.

2. The _________ ___________ won’t move, they are not willing to negociate.

3. Rajoy introduced ______________ cuts in the health and they are going to continue.

4. The number of _______________ increased this month in line with the unemployment rate.

5. Will you get ___________ _______ when the job finishes?

6. The car company had to _____  _______ 100 more workers this week.

7. I think the word _________ is the wrong word, it should be resize!

8. I have a lot of ____________ this week if you would like to recuperate the class?

9. My __________ is “Keep showing up”.

10. Borrowing more money to pay off existing debt is not very ____________ .



What is your opinion on the reforms?

Why does Spain have such high unemployment?



Post Class revision the week after:

A term used to describe a large amount of people demonstrating.

The word given to large changes in the structure and laws

An organisation that represents the rights of workers.

A word describing the amount of people to attend an event.

The final payment you receive after losing your job.

An expression, phrase or slogan that is spoken and repeated.

A word that means easily bendable or easily easily changed to suit circumstances.

The opposite of efficient

A word meaning of no worth or value

Phrasal verb that means fired.

A term that means across an entire section of the economy.

A term used for people who are looking for jobs.



















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Justin Donlon

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