April 15, 2024

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“Crazy” – Minister declares war on Spanish food culture


Long working hours“Crazy” – Minister declares war on Spanish food culture

In Spain, dinner is traditionally eaten late at night. Economy Minister Yolanda Diaz now wants to change that — and cites psychological reasons.

Benedict Holenstein
  • In Spain, dinner is traditionally eaten late at night.

  • The Economy Minister now wants to change that to protect employees.

  • Opposition parties and conservative parties have strongly condemned this.

While Mr and Mrs Swiss traditionally eat dinner at 6pm, in many countries things are quite different: in Spain, for example, dinner is usually only served from 8pm. If Economy and Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz has her way, that should change soon.

He describes the practice of keeping restaurants open late into the night as “madness”. “A country that keeps restaurants open at 1 a.m. is not sensible,” argues the left-wing politician.

Criticism of the report did not take long to arrive: Isabel Díaz Ayuzo, Madrid's regional president and fierce critic of the state government, accused the labor minister of aiming to “bored the people”.

“Reject suggestions that question the way of life”

“Spain has the best nightlife in the world, with streets full of life and freedom – it also offers jobs,” says Ayuzo. Spain by Night, an umbrella group of leisure and entertainment companies, argues that keeping restaurants open late at night attracts many tourists. “We reject any project that calls into question the Spanish way of life,” the association says.

At its core, the dispute over the Spanish working day, according to the Guardian, lasts more than eleven hours. In 2016, Partido Popular promised to shorten the workday and improve work-life balance. Opposition MPs have now emerged as harsh critics in the dispute over restaurant opening hours.

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In making his case for earlier restaurant closings, he points to studies that show late work hours or night shifts lead to worse mental health risks. Diaz says, “Our party is very supportive of leisure activities, so we want to shorten the workday. We want people to enjoy life.”

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