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Spanish Postdocs Sue For Permanent Spots

Some postdocs working at the Spanish National Research Council have sued for and won permanent positions, but the CSIC is pushing back, ScienceInsider reports.

Postdocs, as well as technicians and administrative staff, sued the council to make it comply with a Spanish labor law that says that workers who've worked more than 24 months under a short-term contract during a 30-month time period are entitled to have an open-ended contract. More than 675 workers have sued and won such permanent spots and another 112 cases are pending, ScienceInsider says.

But CSIC has issued a memo saying that institutes with more litigious employees won't be given priority for the 275 new permanent positions the council announced. Further, those institutes can only hire short-term employees if they can show that their current staff can't perform the needed duties.

According to ScienceInsider, the memo says that the court cases have led some institutes to grow more quickly than others, and that has hampered the CSIC's "room to maneuver" and ability to "develop an adequate human resources strategy." It adds that the memo appears to blame research centers and groups for the court cases — group leaders, it notes, might not receive productivity bonuses because for cases CSIC lost.

Mario Díaz Esteban from the National Museum of Natural Sciences says that though it makes sense that the council would alter its hiring policies, it's not actually putting new hires where it would make the most scientific sense. Alicia Durán, a physics professor at CSIC and a Workers' Commissions union representative, adds that this seeks "to scare group leaders and workers in order to prevent future claims."