Fines for companies that work 16 hours a day

Marathon runs up to 16 hours a day. These are the conditions to which employees of the four major consultancies (Deloitte, PwC, EY and Kpmg), also known as the “Big Four”, are accustomed. Despite the lack of complaints, the Spanish Ministry of Labor took action and, after a year of investigations, decided to fine these multinational companies for labor rights violations. Even in a world that is considered ideal for a career, unacceptable situations have arisen.

No time records

The public authority decided to impose fines of at least 1.4 million euros on four consulting companies. Authorities have vowed to investigate whether employees worked longer than their records show. According to Spanish media, the main difficulty of the investigation arose from the companies’ lack of time registration, which has been mandatory for all companies since 2019. The absence of records allowed managers to impose endless working hours, systematically changing from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. as deadlines approached. The situation was considered “normal” as all employees adapted to this type of system, which usually allowed them to go home, sleep, and return to the office the next day. A situation that also affects the food aspect is that workers are now accustomed to consuming their lunch and dinner in front of the computer. fast food evening. After a few years spent like this, most people decided to leave and return home, often to more remote parts of Spain.

Minister’s initiative

Without any complaints filed, then-Minister of Labor Yolanda Díaz launched an investigation. On November 15, 2022, investigators searched the offices of the “Big Four” and collected information and documents regarding how these companies control the working hours of their employees. They also looked at whether overtime was paid or otherwise compensated. “A few months ago [le società, ndr] They wanted to include in the contract us working up to 12 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, without any additional pay. We launched a social media campaign that led to the first strike in the industry,” unionist Raúl de la Torre told the press.

union struggle

According to data compiled by Expansión newspaper, four large companies earned 2.5 billion euros in the financial year in 2021. Since 2008, companies have reported record profits, while working conditions have deteriorated significantly, despite job profiles being among the most sought-after. The rights violated include the maximum working day, the legally required rest period and worsening wages compared to the past. After months of negotiations and strikes, an agreement was reached under which graduates could earn up to 15,300 euros, up from around 14,000 previously. Thanks to the negotiations, workers with three years of experience will not be paid less than 17 thousand 100 euros.

willingness to sacrifice

Despite these relative union successes, the problem of work marathons persists because it is now ingrained in the “work culture” established in these companies. According to the latest report published by the Spanish Association of Consulting Companies, 29% of new contracts in 2021 consist of new graduates without work experience. The “Big Four” target these sources because they are the ones most willing to sacrifice their personal lives and mental health to advance their careers or at least hold a job in an increasingly unstable job market.

Source: Today IT

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