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Spain has 20 million people employed for the first time since 2008

The number of people in work in Spain is the highest in 13 years as the country's unemployment rate fell to under 14 percent in Q3 2021, new government data shows.

A hairdresser blowdries a client's hair after reopening his barber shop in Madrid, on May 4, 2020, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. - Masks became mandatory on public transport today as Spain took its first tentative steps towards a commercial reopening with small businesses accepting customers by appointment and restaurants prepping food for takeaway. Spain's population of nearly 47 million people have been confined to their homes for more than 50 days as the country sought to curb the spread of the deadly virus which has so far claimed 25,428 lives. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)
A hairdresser blowdries a client's hair at a barber shop in Madrid. The bulk of the new jobs are in the services sector, mainly in tourism. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

The number of employed workers in Spain has surpassed 20 million workers for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, after 359,300 jobs were created in the summer months of 2021, 1.8 percent more than in the previous quarter.

In September 2021, the number of people in work in Spain was 20,031 million.

The jobless rate declined to 14.57 percent in the July-September period from 15.26 percent in the previous quarter, national statistics office INE said.

The unemployment rate remains above the 13.78 percent rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019 before the pandemic hit Spain.

The INE jobless figures are based on surveys, which provide a more reliable indication of unemployment as many people who jobless are not eligible for benefits.

The bulk of the new jobs, 377,200, were created in the service sector which is dominated by tourism.

The industrial sector added 63,000 jobs while agriculture shed 49,600 posts.

Before the pandemic hit in spring 2020, Spain was the world’s second-most popular tourist destination after France, and the sector accounted for around 12 percent of the economy.

The Spanish government has said it was hoping to attract around 45 million tourist visits this year, approximately half the figure for 2019.

The Spanish economy contracted by 10.8 percent in 2020, one of the worst results among industrialised countries, but it returned to growth in the second quarter this year.

The statistics office is set to release gross domestic product data for the third quarter on Friday.

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LIFE IN SPAIN

How to lodge a formal complaint in Spain: Hoja de reclamación

If you’ve experienced bad service in Spain that didn’t meet expectations or bought a product that didn’t do what it promised to, then you may want to fill out an official complaint form in a bid to get your money back. Here’s how to go about it.

How to lodge a formal complaint in Spain: Hoja de reclamación

At some point or another everyone has probably experienced poor service and demanded to be reimbursed, whether it was because a bus had a broken air-con in 40C heat and was two hours delayed or you bought a product from a store that broke a month later. 

The first step is obviously to try and contact the company and sort out the issue amicably, but if this method isn’t producing any fruitful results, you may want to fill out an hoja de reclamación. 

This essentially translates as a ‘claim sheet’ and is an official complaint form you can lodge against a company to try and get reimbursed for your purchase.

READ ALSO: What to be aware of before opening a shared bank account in Spain

According to the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) there are three reasons that a complaint form of this kind can help. It can:

  • Let the Consumer Administration know about your case, so they can investigate it.
  • Try and get the company to reach an agreement with you.
  • Sanction the company if it has breached any of its obligations.

What are the advantages of filling out an official complaint form?

Sometimes, just the threat of filling out an official complaint form is enough for the company to give in or propose an acceptable agreement.

Companies obviously don’t want to have lots of negative reviews and have complaints filed against them, so by filling one out, you are actually helping them improve their customer service. 

If the company still won’t do anything after you’ve submitted the form and later you go to settle the matter in court, having filled out the form will be proof that you tried to find a solution first.

Can you use this type of form for all companies?

The OCU explains that there are companies in some sectors that you shouldn’t fill out an hoja de reclamación for in the first place. Instead, you must contact the customer service department of the company itself.

This is true for banks, insurance providers, investment companies, telecommunications services, transportation companies, airlines and energy companies.

“If they do not respond in a month or respond but do not provide a satisfactory solution, then you should go down the specific dispute route that their company proposes,” the OCU states.

How do I fill out this type of complaint form?

If you are dealing with a business or service provider that does not have a specific claim channel such as a bar, store, supermarket or hotel, you can ask directly for the claim form.

The form has three copies – one for you, another for the administration and another that you must deliver to the establishment itself. 

Make sure to make photocopies of any supporting documents that serve as evidence such as contracts, tickets, invoices, guarantees, advertisements or photos.

Once completed, you must give your forms and evidence to the Municipal Consumer Information Office (OMIC) or by mail or by electronic means to the General Directorate of Consumption of your region.

Each region will have its own forms you need to complete. If you don’t ask for them from the business itself, you can find them online. The one for Catalonia can be found here, for Valencia here, for Andalusia here, and for Madrid here. For other regions, you can simply type into an internet search engine: hojas de reclamaciones + your region.

Once completed, your case will be studied and you may be presented with a resolution. If it is not successful but the administration finds that the company has breached any consumer regulations, it will open a case starting a disciplinary procedure that usually ends in a fine.

Remember that, it is not guaranteed that you will get compensation, even if the company ends up being fined.

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