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Background information on industrial relations in Spain

  • 17 Dec 2009
    Spain: Crisis and uncertainty in automotive sector

    Rising uncertainty surrounding the future of the automotive sector in Spain comes at a time when the current economic and financial crisis is having an uneven effect, depending on companies’ strategy in the sector and the dealings of the public administrations. Motor companies Nissan in Catelonia and Opel in Aragon are faced with restructuring plans, resulting in the dismissal of workers. In the case of Opel, the restructuring involves plants in other European countries.

  • 26 Oct 2009
    Spain: Green light for new unemployment protection measure

    In September 2009, the Spanish parliament approved a new €420 monthly unemployment payment, to be granted to people whose unemployment benefit has ceased since 1 January 2009. The measure has secured the support of almost all political parties and the trade unions, although the Popular Party referred to it as a palliative measure that will not help to boost employment.

  • 22 Sep 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Steel industry – Spain

    The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the steel industry in Spain. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

  • 18 Sep 2009
    Spain – Greening the European economy: responses and initiatives by Member States and social partners

    In the context of the current economic crisis, the Spanish Government has launched an economic recovery plan, known as PlanE. Under the objective of modernising the economy, several measures are related to the green agenda. Social dialogue on green issues is linked to the debate about the modernisation of the economy and the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility. Government, trade unions and employer associations agree that it is necessary to enhance the economic recovery promoting an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable model. However, short-term trade-offs between environmental and socioeconomic issues are not easy to be dealt with.

  • 15 Sep 2009
    Spain: Flexicurity and industrial relations

    Flexicurity policies in Spain have been based on two main objectives: fostering stable employment, mainly through allowances to companies for social security contributions, and a series of measures aimed at improving the employability and activation of certain groups who find it difficult to integrate in employment. Despite the increasing concern of the social partners about employment security, these measures have slowly crept into collective bargaining and their effects have been limited, as is shown by the evolution of the labour market in the last decade.

  • 29 Jul 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Tanning and leather sector – Spain

    The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the tanning and leather sector in Spain. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

  • 02 Jul 2009
    Spain: Multinational companies and collective bargaining

    Since year 2000 many spanish MNCs have extended in Europe, after a period of expansion in Latin America. From the perspective of employment, a part of the multinational investment creates jobs, but another part involves outsourcing. The latter is related to the disinvestment by some multinational companies from outside Spanish territory. Spain is in an intermediate position in the 'global division of labour', having neither very low pay nor very high innovation, and this make it less attractive for companies that seek one of these factors. MNCs are able to shift production across borders. They also tend to apply their Human Resources methods, potentially posing a challenge to national industrial relations institutions and practices.Their role in the transformation of organisational culture and industrial relations in Spain is very diversified. Some MNCs with headquarters in the EU Member States transmit European social values and patterns of cooperative management and industrial relations. Other european and american companies tend to impose their industrial relations, and bypass the dialogue with the unions and their participation. Some of the great MNC home-based have a high influence on collective bargaining, and lead the negotiations or have a degree of control on them. Some othe foreign-owned companies also have prominence, especially in sectors where they are majority

  • 01 Jun 2009
    Spain: Strikes in airline sector source of major disruption

    Strike action and other initiatives organised by a number of groups in the airline sector have placed growing pressure on companies in the industry. Sometimes, this pressure has been exerted in non-formal ways and has caused considerable disruption for customers. The conflict has occurred against the backdrop of significant changes in the sector, including a merger deal and plans to partially privatise the country’s public airport management operator.

  • 21 May 2009
    Spain: Sony agrees to maintain jobs in return for pay freeze

    Global manufacturer of audio, video and IT products Sony has agreed to present a viability plan for the continuity of its Barcelona plant, in exchange for longer working hours and a pay freeze. The agreement will preserve numerous jobs, as redundancies should now affect at most 93 workers rather than 275 persons, as first feared. Other companies have noted the strategy at Sony.

  • 30 Apr 2009
    Spain: Social partners need to debate broader economic and social questions

    In Spain, little debate has taken place over the broader issues of economic policy. Meanwhile, the major social partner organisations appear to be more focused on the traditional topics of social dialogue. The economic crisis and its widespread impact, however, point to the need for a shift in focus to fundamental elements underlying the country’s economy – including Spain’s economic model and government policies, as well as the role of social dialogue and the social partners.

  • 30 Apr 2009
    Spain: Government plan to boost economy and protect unemployed people

    Unemployment insurance coverage has been quite high in Spain over the years. However, the recent rise in unemployment due to the current economic crisis has forced the government to increase subsidies and establish a package of measures to promote employment in the public and private sectors. The government’s agenda to modernise the economy, improve productivity and promote a model for productive change includes a new law on the employment and protection of unemployed people.

  • 30 Apr 2009
    Spain: Need for simplified agreements in social services sector

    In the last three years, a series of collective agreements have been concluded in related areas such as social work, care of dependants, and social intervention. This has caused some confusion because of an overlap in provisions in this area. A particularly significant development has been the introduction of new legislation granting assistance to dependants. The major social partner organisations understand the need to simplify and rationalise the existing agreements in this area.

  • 30 Apr 2009
    Spain: Progress in gender equality in wages

    The issue of equal pay has received much attention at legislative level in Spain – mainly through the introduction of the Equality Act – as well as generating debate between the government, various institutions and individuals. However, differences still persist in this area. In 2006, for example, it was estimated that the average wage of women was 73.7% of men’s average wage. Moreover, the wage gap among young people is also considerable, amounting to about 30%.

  • 30 Apr 2009
    Spain: Economic crisis drives policy response across different sectors

    The global crisis has necessitated revised economic policies across the different sectors of Spain’s economy. Industries particularly affected by the crisis include construction, the automotive industry and financial services. The government has responded by introducing measures to cushion the effects of the crisis; however, broader questions have been raised over how such support should be allocated and over the competitive model of Spain’s economy.

  • 30 Apr 2009
    Spain: Progress and problems in collective bargaining

    While there has been progress in Spain’s collective bargaining process, the social changes underway have led to problems of articulation and overlaps in bargaining activities. The concept of nationalism has also had an impact on the country’s bargaining process. Employer organisations and trade unions agree about the need to rationalise collective bargaining, but do not agree on how this should be done.

  • 28 Apr 2009
    Spain: Wage flexibility and collective bargaining

    This report covers the main tendencies of wage flexibility through collective bargaining in the banking and metalworking sectors. The available figures and information do not properly reflect the true extent of variable pay systems. Many of the sectoral agreements that include references to the establishment of such pay systems leave bargaining to lower levels, which favours unilateral introduction by employers. Furthermore, some of the incentives and items of variable pay included in the agreements have been consolidated in the wage packets of workers.

  • 28 Apr 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Hospitals – Spain

    The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the hospital sector in Spain. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

  • 14 Apr 2009
    Spain: Debate on legality of judiciary strike

    In February 2009, about 40% of all court judges across Spain went on strike for the first time. The judges demanded a pay rise, better resources for courtrooms and the setting of workload limits. The action was condemned as illegal by the government and was the subject of much debate among citizens and local institutions. Debate centred on the right of judges to take strike action and the fact that overworked judges are making errors.

  • 14 Apr 2009
    Spain: Economic crisis leads to decline in immigration

    From 2000 to 2008, Spain experienced large-scale immigration, with many people coming from Morocco, Romania and Ecuador. Thus, in 2008, immigrants represented slightly over 11% of Spain’s total population. However, due to the current economic crisis, the number of foreigners coming to the country has declined as the government has introduced various control measures. Attitudes, decisions and activities in this area have been fuelled by changing labour supply and demand.

  • 31 Mar 2009
    Spain: Wage formation

    The “pay question”, particularly the problem of low pay, is once more a major subject of debate in Spain after the publication of international reports confirming the decrease in the proportion of wages to the total national income. Whereas the agreed pay maintains a moderate growth rate, the trade unions claim that the decrease in the proportion of wages to the national income is due to a model of economic growth based on unproductive sectors with the worst-paid jobs. The trade unions have therefore proposed measures aimed at improving the purchasing power of pay and fighting the inflation generated by high profit margins.

  • 16 Mar 2009
    Spain: Social dialogue at a standstill due to recession

    At a meeting in January 2009, the social partners confirmed their commitment to the social dialogue process. Nonetheless, social dialogue in Spain has remained at a standstill due to disagreements over distributing the costs of the recession. Employers have called for a revision of collective agreements in force due to the economic downturn, while trade unions have warned that they will not negotiate pay rises lower than the government’s 2% inflation forecast.

  • 09 Mar 2009
    Spain: The impact of the information and consultation Directive

    At the time of writing, Spain had not indicated any measures for transposing the Directive into national law by 2005. Due to this delay, the Commission had issued a reasoned opinion against Spain in December 2005. In January 2007 Spanish Government presented a Draft Bill aimed at transposing the Directive, which was issued after an extended period of consultation with the social partners. There is a general opinion among the social partners and the Government about the need to approve a general framework for information and consultation rights for workers. The Bill obtained a positive evaluation from the Economic and Social Council (CES). New legislation was finally enacted in November 2007.

  • 06 Feb 2009
    Spain: Collective bargaining and continuous vocational training

    The Spanish system of continuous vocational training has developed in the framework of the social dialogue since its creation in the early 1990s. The last negotiated reform of the system in 2007 led to the recognition of the right to the continuing training for all workers, whether occupied or unemployed, through the integration of continuing and occupational training into a single system of vocational training for employment. Another objective of the reform was to promote the inclusion and treatment of continuing training in collective bargaining to guarantee the right to the training of less favoured groups of workers.

  • 04 Feb 2009
    Spain: Government plans to reform vocational training system

    The Spanish government is planning to modernise the country’s vocational training system in order to foster a more sustainable model of economic growth. A key objective of the proposed reforms is to improve the employability of young people in emerging sectors of economic activity. The reforms envisage the accreditation of work experience, as well as the creation of National Vocational Training Reference Centres.

  • 19 Jan 2009
    Spain: Trade Union Confederation holds its ninth Confederal Congress

    The new management of the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions, chosen by a narrow margin of votes at its ninth Confederal Congress in December 2008, is concentrating more on reinforcing the confederal nature of the organisation than on offering an alternative social dialogue policy. In the last few years, the trade union has grown considerably, leading to major organisational restructuring and an increase in the number of internal disputes.

  • 13 Jan 2009
    Spain: Further workforce cuts in car industry

    In late 2008, Spain’s largest car manufacturers announced workforce adjustment plans in response to declining market demand. Workforce adjustments such as redundancies or temporary layoffs are applied when the internal flexibility measures agreed in many companies are no longer effective. The trade unions question the motives of employers and claim that workforce adjustments are being used to obtain concessions in the bargaining on new flexibility measures.

  • 05 Jan 2009
    Spain: Debate on early retirement relaunched

    Given the current global economic crisis, the debate on the reform of Spain’s public pension system is now focusing on the need to limit rather than eliminate early retirement schemes as a means of adjusting the workforce. In any case, the preliminary work towards the renewal of the Toledo Pact does not envisage in-depth reforms of the public pension system, as the latest government forecasts indicate that the pension budget will be sustainable for the next 20 years.

Page last updated: 05 September, 2014