Zapatero and Rajoy have advanced in their talks over a possible labour reform pact (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). It has been said that the PP party still has some doubts over the reform but are not planning to vote against it. The president took the initiative and called Mariano Rajoy and according to sources asked to speak to the party's economic spokesman, Cristóbal Montoro. After receiving a papel blessing whilst visiting Silvio Berlusconi, Zapatero announced in Rome that the labour reform that the government will undertake "will be substantial" and will seek a broad agreement to move forward parliamentary reform. According to the Spanish president a reform is essential to overcome what he called a "bad history" marked by a significant number of job losses, double than the European average and high job insecurity. The Spanish labour model "has changed little in the last 25 years" Zapatero went on to point out and the reform will have as its main objectives "a reduction in the cost of dismissal without workers losing their rights" and a change in internal flexibility within companies that will affect working time, conditions and wage regulations". These words will have sounded good to the PP party as they agree with the demands that the party have been demanding since talks began two years ago.
A poster campaign has started against semi-nudism which aims to prevent people from wearing swimwear and going without t-shirts in the street (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The measures are to be installed in transportation, bars and restaurants in a bid to prevent the further damaging of the city's image. Hundreds of posters that recommend people are "well-dressed" and pass through the city with more clothes on than bikinis and without t-shirts. The council last year, ruled this practice as "uncivil" and this summer it is to become a municipal offense but it is understood that this is a recommendation and not a ban. The placement of the notices will last around two weeks and cover around 145 municipal facilities, including district headquarters, 32 public service offices, 42 municipal markets, community centres and libraries. As well as 29 bus routes, subway stations, tour buses, the MontjuIc cable car, trams and bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. In Barcelona there is no rule that prohibits nudism in the street unless there is evidence of exhibitionist or provocative behaviour, however the council sanctioned some behaviours and this area of penal code totaled 92 penalties in 2008, and 50 last year.
The PSC called on Jordi Hereu for more social policies before appointing him as a candidate (read article in Castilian here, El Pais) It is one year until the municipal elections and the polls predict that Socialists will face difficulties in keeping their Mayor. Hereu's weakness was exacerbated by the dismal failure of the Diagonal consultation however despite external pressures, no one in the organisation has come forward and called for a renewal. The PSC has chosen to ratify Hereu for now but has also aksed for a clear gesture of authority in the final stretch of the campaign. Many PSC members have revealed that there is an urgency imposed on the mayor to explain what went wrong and to draw out a clear and understandable future programme. Many of there concerns are based on Hereu's tendency to focus his energy on big events and not pay more attention to everyday problems, presumably referring to Barcelona's bid for the Winter Games. He will have his chance to explain his plans tomorrow when the el consejo de federación meets, with more than 400 members expected to attend. The meeting will have two main objectives: to make clear that there is no other candidate except Hereu and give the mayor the opportunity to explain what it intends to do in the remaining year of the municipal mandate. One leader was quoted as saying, "by giving up the reform of the Diagonal and putting in the background the Olympic bid, Hereu has been left without his star projects, he'll now have to explain what you do in the future." However energies are being spent on "strengthening the candidacy of José Montilla for the autumn elections" and then they will concentrate on the municipal ones, one source summerises. This leaves only six months to concentrate on the municipal elections but is necessary if the PSC has to focus all their efforts in safeguarding Barcelona.
Also: The port of Barcelona returns to normal after nearly three days of blockage from containers left by lorry drivers demanding better pay (read full article here, La Vanguardia). The fiesta Fem Fiesta, Fem Paral·lel kicks off this weekend with over 300 acts taking to the streets (read full article in Castilan here, El Pais).