Yes, I definetly can assure it is Dismissal Program. I read it in the news:
... [A car company] announces new voluntary dismissal program.
[The car company] will launch in February a new voluntary dismissal program for the employees of the plant based in xxxx, xxxxx. Last month, 1,756 people adhered to the program. In November 2003, the company launched the program in the plant based in ...
Yes, totally agree: layoff plan or suchlike... EREs don't really exist outside Spain. The labour market here is so different and tends to favour the worker. Where else would a company ask for permission to fire staff en masse?
Would that Spain was the only place with huge lay offs or redundancies. In the press you will come across employers axeing (not sure how to spell this) or getting rid of jobs. It's different from firing in that although the workers concerned lose their jobs they do get some sort of compensation.
Voluntary redundancy as opposed to compulsory redundancy is something unions fight for. What it means is that presuming sufficient volunteers - often older people who stand to get the most redundancy payments - come forwards then nobody is forced to leave.
As for retrenchment, there are any amount of "elegant" terms for getting rid of staff. This is by no means an exhaustive list - downsizing, rightsizing, pay roll reduction, delayering, staff reconfiguration/ reorganisation. The result is broadly the same, and they all sound like management school buzzwords and are viewed as weasel words by anyone who is faced with losing their job.
Living in Spain and dealing with several ERE proceedings, I think one of the key things missing in this thread is the fact that we're talking about an "expediente", which you can consider a "case file". The focus of the ERE has as part of it the plan to dismiss employees, sure, but only by creating an official petition which goes to the government. Specific concessions are granted during ERE proceedings, allowing companies to ignore or postpone compliance with standard termination regulations, but the company must apply for the right to bypass standard employment termination proceedings. The plans are regulated and may, in fact, be turned down. I'll refrain from commenting on what I think of that or the effect this is having.
When I translate a document, I refer to an ERE as one of the following, depending on context, spin, and focus:
"application for planned dismissals"
"written petition for planned dismissals"
"regulated planned dismissal proceedings"
"planned dismissal case file"