The Club Natación Sabadell (CNS) in Barcelona, long one of Spain's leading clubs and alma mater to the likes of double Olympic silver medallist and world short-course champion Mireia Belmonte, is reducing the income of more than 90% of its staff, or 208 people, by between 30 and 50% over the next two years.
The measure, which will not affect management or teachers from the associated Santa Clara school, does affect swimmers and coaches, according to EFE, the Spanish news agency. Just how elite swimmers and their mentors can reduce their workload by 35% over two years, as is suggested in a directive aimed at coping with the financial crisis biting hard in Spain, is unclear.
The relevant union that represents workers at the club, where the head coach if Frenchman Fred Vergnoux, says the plans "are not justified". A series of meetings are planned between the parties affected an the employer, starting with a gathering today at which the terms of contracts under the Expediente de Regulación de Empleo (ERE), or regulation of employment conditions, will be discussed.
Sabadell swim club, which dismissed Belmonte last year after claiming she had shown a lack of respect for her teammates and club officials at a post-Games function, has 14 sports divisions and has placed more than 30 athletes on the Spain Olympic team. It has 34,000 members, making it the third largest sports outfit in Catalonia behind RACC, the automobile club linked to the Spanish Rally, and FC Barcelona, the football club.