Business boss feels heat over funeral comments

The head of labour relations for Spain's biggest employers' association, the CEOE, has come under fire after attacking the four day travel entitlement that employees receive in the event of the death of an immediate family member by saying 'people don't travel in stagecoaches'.

Business boss feels heat over funeral comments
José de la Cavada says the current leave entitlement for funerals of family members is excessive. Photo: Paco Calvino/Flickr

De la Cavada José de la Cavada levelled a serious of criticisms at Spain's Workers' Statute in a speech at Monday's presentation of a report on absenteeism by the recruitment agency Adecco. 

De la Cavada said that the statute, which affords employees four days off if they need to stay away from home overnight to attend the funeral of an immediate relative, was no longer relevant and added: "Obviously with modern vehicles we're talking about just a few hours travel time, or even just an hour."

He went on to comment that Spain's current labour legislation "is a copy of the over-protective laws of the Franco era and doesn't correspond with what people need to attend a family event of this kind."

Spain's right-wing dictator Francisco Franco ruled Spain from the end of the country's civil war in 1939 to his death in 1975.  

De la Cavada demanded an overhaul of employment laws to "ensure that there is no justification for absenteeism", according to Spanish daily El País.

Adecco figures revealed that absenteeism in Spain has actually fallen by 4.3% in the private sector in 2012 but De la Cavada pointed out that the figure was 5.06% in the public sector.

The fall has been attributed to a perceived reduction in job security as a result of the crisis.

De la Calvada continued his speech by saying, "The one who pays is the one who bears the risk, and the absenteeism controls of the Social Security Service leave much to be desired."

His comments sparked a storm of criticism on social networks such as Twitter.

Many commentators highlighted the fact that De la Calvada was fined €25,000 in 2010 for a "very serious" breach of regulations when he was found guilty by Spain's Labour Inspectorate of subjecting his employees to "humiliating practices".

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Amancio Ortega’s daughter to take over as Zara and Inditex boss

Marta Ortega, daughter of Spain's wealthiest man, will take over as chairwoman of the world's biggest fashion retailer in a generational shift for the firm, Inditex announced on Tuesday.

Amancio Ortega's daughter to take over as Zara and Inditex boss
Photo taken in 2016 shows the founder and chairman of the Inditex fashion group Amancio Ortega (R) with his daughter Marta Ortega. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP

She will replace Pablo Isla, who has been chairman since 2011, in April, the company said in a statement. He was deputy chairman between 2005 and 2011.

Ortega, 37, has been working for the company in different areas for the last 15 years, even working anonymously as a shop employee at one point to learn the ins and outs of the company.

She is the youngest daughter of Amancio Ortega, 85, who founded fast-fashion giant Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia in 1975 in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia.

He remains the firm’s largest shareholder with a 59 percent stake and is one of the world’s richest men.

“I have lived and breathed this company since my childhood, and I have learned from all the great professionals I have worked with over the last 15 years,” Marta Ortega said in the statement.

“I have always said that I would dedicate my life to building upon my parents’ legacy, looking to the future but learning from the past,” she added.

Inditex, which operates nearly 7,000 stores worldwide, posted a net profit of almost 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) during its first half of 2021, which runs between February and July.

The fashion group owns seven other brands in addition to Zara, including upmarket Massimo Dutti and teen label Stradivarius.

It is the world’s biggest fashion retailer, ahead of Swedish rival H&M.

Stocking shelves

Inditex thanked Isla, who is resigning, for his “leadership and vision” during his 17 years at the firm, saying the group had become “the leading company in its sector worldwide” under his watch.

It also hailed Marta Ortega, saying she “has led the strengthening of Zara’s brand image and fashion proposition, an area she will continue to oversee.”

She studied international business in London and carried out months-long stays in the departments of finance, accounting, sales analysis and design when she began working at Inditex.

Marta Ortega also briefly worked as an anonymous employee at the group’s shops in 2007, reportedly stocking shelves, to get a better understanding of how they operate.

Oscar Garcia Maceiras, who had become the company’s general counsel and secretary of the board in March, will become CEO “effective immediately”, Inditex said.

Her will replace Carlos Crespo, who took the post two years ago. Crespo will remain chief operating officer.