Court rules one-year trial work contract without compensation illegal

Judgment applied to case of a laborer who was dismissed eight days before the 12-month period ended

A court in Barcelona has ruled that the one-year trial labor contract without the right to severance pay created in the 2012 reform of the labor market is in breach of international law.

The ruling stemmed from an unfair dismissal case brought by a laborer taken on by the rubber recycling company Alfredo Mesalles in Gavà, Barcelona province, who was given such a contract and was dismissed eight days before the one-year trial period was up.

The company then hired someone else to do his job, which consisted of moving tires within the firm’s premises.

The court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor and ordered the company to either reinstate him or pay compensation of 1,187 euros, in line with the amount established by the collective agreement for the sector he worked in.

The worker in question, César Expósito, who is in his thirties, also claimed that he worked 50 hours a week when his contract stipulated 40 hours, but the court ruled that he had failed to prove this.

His lawyer, Roberto Castro, described the court’s ruling as a “blow to the labor reform,” which he said allowed companies to use the cover of the one-year trial contract to dismiss workers at will without any compensation. He said the company’s attitude in this particular case was a “flagrant abuse” of the law.

The international jurisprudence to which the court referred in its ruling is Article 4.4 of the Council of Europe’s European Social Charter which recognizes the right of all workers to a reasonable period of notice for termination of employment. The judge also deemed a trial period of 12 months as “unreasonable.”

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