EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Spain: EIRO CAR on the Changing Business Landscape in the Electricity sector and Industrial Relations in Europe

About

Country: 
Spain
Author: 
Pablo Sanz
Institution: 
CIREM

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The electricity sector in Spain is dominated by large companies, most of which derive from the former public monopoly. The energy policy is determined by the Government, with no specific space for social dialogue or collective bargaining. The Government establishes the energy policy and the changes in the sources of energy production, even though best practice involving production and distribution companies is adopted by the National Commission of Energy (Comisión Nacional de la Energía, CNE). The trends towards renewable energies pose new challenges for the representation of the employers and employees within the subsector.

1. General background information on the energy policy in your country and employment trends

1.1. Please explain briefly the main governmental strategies/action in relation to the electricity production and energy source mix. In your answer, please include information on the following aspects, where possible:

  • Is there an outspoken policy or plan in your country for any kind of change towards an increase or decrease of electricity production with any of the different sources (coal, oil, gas, hydro, eolic, sun, etc.)?
  • Which is the targeted energy mix for the future (see material provided)? How, in which subsequent steps, such targets are expected to be met?
  • Are investments in networks (new connections, upgrade) envisaged? To what extent? With which specific goals?
  • What is the Government stance and what are the ongoing/envisaged actions towards generation of electricity from the different broad groups of sources: nuclear /fossile /renewable energy?
  • What are the recent employment trends in the different subsectors of power generation according to the different broad groups of sources: nuclear/fossile/renewable energy? Please indicate development since 2005 with reference to generation, disribution, and sale separately.

The Spanish Strategy on Climate change and Clean Energy (Horizon 2007-2012-2020) aims to achieve an increase in renewable energies within the energy mix used in Spain in order to obtain a contribution to the gross consumption of electricity of 32 % in 2012 and 37 % in 2020. The Spanish National Renewable Energy Action (2011-2020) establishes two energy sources that by 2020 should carry a greater weight in the structure of electricity generation, namely the renewable energies and natural gas, which together will cover almost three quarters of the whole national electricity demand. Within the renewable energies, a leading role is determined for eolic and hydro energies, amounting to more than 70 % of the entire renewable electricity production, with a clear predominance of the former.

The Planning for Electricity and Gas sectors for the period 2008-2016 establishes the new connections and network upgrades for the electricity sector (922 million euro), including the needs of the expected increase in renewable energies (particularly eolic and hydro energies), the gas sector (10,221 million euro) and infrastructures for the storage of strategic petroleum stockpile (53 million euro).

The following table provides the more detailed data available for the sector. This data shows a notable increase of employment since 2007 in the subsector of electricity power generation, transmission and distribution, which includes renewable energies, while general employment in the sector decreased during the 2007-2008 period, to then increase between 2008 and 2010.

Table 1: Employment in the Energy Sector in Spain. 2005-2010

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Extraction and support activities of crude petroleum and natural gas

10,027

8,810

5,259

4,142

5,069

6,015

Manufacture of refined petroleum products

27,324

22,663

24,502

17,218

17,902

16,857

Electricity power generation (hydro, geothermal, nuclear, eolic and others), transmission and distribution

57,862

62,508

58,226

59,480

66,828

65,930

Manufacture of gas; distribution of gaseous fuels through mains

11,223

10,944

11,191

10,974

10,692

11,688

Total

106,436

104,925

99,178

91,814

100,491

100,490

Source: Labour Force Survey

1.2. Government policy for increase of the share of renewable resources according to the RES directive

  • Are any subsidies being granted for different types of RES for electricity providers? If yes, please provide briefly the details
  • Have subsidies for RES been cut recently? Was this a result of the crisis, of budget constraints, or the result of a policy revision (following a policy assessment, due to a disporportionate use of subsidies, etc.)? Please provide brief details.
  • Are there any other forms of support foreseen for promoting electricity generation of RES?
  • Please include any other aspects you consider to be worth mentioning regarding the state of play and the future prospects of RES in your country.

Law 661/2007 offers incentives to electricity production via cogeneration and combined cycle power systems and renewable energies. In Spain, the regulatory framework governing electricity generation using renewable energies revolves around a mechanism known as the feed-in rate, the operation of which is based on guaranteeing a price higher than the one existing in the wholesale market for the technology employed. This cost increase is financed by the electricity rates themselves. Under this scheme, the cost is shared by producers of conventional energies and consumers, given that prioritising the entry of renewable energy into the electricity system will bring about a price decrease in the electrical energy production market. Consumers only finance the part of renewable production that is not covered by this effect.

Due to the economic crisis, Law 14/2010 on saving and energy efficiency establishes a reduction in the subsidies to RES as determined by the feed-in rate. This reduction was developed in order to reduce public expenditure owing to budget constraints.

Finally, other measures to promote electricity generation of RES are the loans and joint investment programmes of the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de Energía, IDAE) to foster the investments of firms in projects supporting energy-efficient renewable energies.

1.3. Are there any studies and documents assessing the employment impact of energy policies and of prospective changes in the energy mix within the electricity sector? This could include, for instance,

  • Employment effects resulting from the unbundling of activities (production from distribution)
  • Employment effects (on quantity and quality of work) resulting from the possible shifts within the electricity production sector from traditional sources to RES
  • Employment effects from investments in infrastructure (renewal of grids, introduction of smart meter technology, district heating)
  • The need for retraining of workers or provision of new qualifications linked to the sector transformations
  • Possible spatial mobility of workers as a result of more decentralised production (linked both to new activities and to restructuring of existing ones)
  • Please include any other aspects you consider to be worth mentioning regarding prospective impacts on employment and industrial relations

The Spanish National Renewable Energy Action (2011-2020) makes reference to a study carried out by the Trade Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health (Instituto Sindical de Trabajo, Ambiente y Salud, ISTAS) of the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (Comisiones Oberas, CCOO) entitled Study on employment associated to the promotion of renewable energies in Spain 2010. The study makes an employment prevision in RES according to the energy aims of the Government, of 82,589 employees, with 12,437 new employees in relation to the beginning of 2010. The source of energy that is liable to generate most employment is photovoltaic energy, followed by wind energy and thermal energy. Compared to the figure observed at present, the eolic sector would lose employment, since in 2015 it is foreseen that less power will be installed in comparison to the present year. The technologies in which major employment creation is expected are geothermal and solar energies, mainly due to the new energy that is foreseen to be installed.

1.4 To what extent are the social partners involved or consulted concerning the governmental energy policy, notably in relation to employment impacts? Has this happened on an ad-hoc basis or on a structural, permanent basis? Is there a special tripartite social dialogue body for such consultations? Did consultation take place at national level, at sector level, or at the initiative of individual companies? Please briefly provide details.

According to the information provided by social partners, in Spain there is no consultation or social dialogue body regarding the energy policy and the employment impacts.

We can only mention that the National Commission of Energy (Comisión Nacional de la Energía, CNE) is the regulatory entity of the energy systems. Its targets are to monitor both effective competition in the energy systems as well as the objectivity and transparency of their functioning. In spite of the fact that the CNE plays no role in employment or social dialogue issues, representatives of companies belonging to the sector are members of the electricity council, including the employers’ organisation Spanish Association of the Electricity Industry (Unión Española de la Industria Eléctrica, UNESA) for the production and distribution of energy, and an association of companies which does not act as an employers’ organisation, the Spanish Association of Producers of Renewable Energies (Asociación de Productores de Energías Renovables, APPA) for producers in special regime (renewable energies). The unions have no presence in the Commission.

2. Composition, structure and employment trends for the different resources used for electricity production

2.1 Please give an overview of the current sectoral composition of electricity production in your country, by giving for each of these seven groups of energy sources, the NAME of the three largest producing, the NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES of these companies, and the public or private STATUS of the EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with their employees.

For all companies listed, as a summary, please indicate:

  1. Total production and its distribution across different energy sources
  2. Total employment and its distribution across different energy sources
  3. Production plants and their respective energy source(s)

Gas Natural Fenosa has a total production of 58,130 MW, and fossil fuels are the main source of energy (79%), followed by hydro energies (11%), renewable energy (6%) and nuclear energy (3%). The total number of employees in the company was 19,600 at the beginning of 2011, including Spain and Portugal.

In the case of Iberdrola, its energy production (44,991 MW) is diversified between nuclear energy (36%), hydro energy (27.4%), fossil fuels (17%), eolic (15.9%) and renewable energies (3.6%). In 2010 the company had 11,899 employees for all its activities.

The main source of energy production for Endesa in 2010 (40,141 MW) was fossil fuels (44.2%), followed by nuclear energy (41.2%), hydro (13.7%) and renewable energy (0.9%). The company had 12,151 employees in 2010 for all the activities of the company.

Acciona produces 5,747 MW by means of eolic sources, 57 MW by means of biomass and 45.8 MW by means of photovoltaic sources. The total number of employees in the company is 21,000.

Gamesa has 170 eolic plants in 11 countries, with a production of eolic energy of 4,100 MW and 7,262 employees.

Ence has an energy production of 229 MW by biomass and employs 1,663 workers.

Isofoton produces photovoltaic energy with a total production of 230MW and has 8,000 employees.

No detailed information is available on employment across energy sources.

Electricity production

Electricity production with

TOP 3

PRODUCING COMPANIES

(the largest 3 in market share)

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Reference year for the number of employees

Private/Public STATUS of WORKERS

FOSSIL FUELS

Gas natural fenosa

19,600a

2011

Private workers

Iberdrola

11,899b

2010

Private workers

Endesa

12,151b

2010

Private workers

NUCLEAR

Endesa

12,151 b

2010

Private workers

Iberdrola

11,899b

2010

Private workers

Gas natural fenosa

19.600a

2011

Private workers

HYDRO

Iberdrola

11,899b

2010

Private workers

Gas natural fenosa

19,600a

2011

Private workers

Endesa

12,151b

2010

Private workers

WIND

Acciona

21,000b

2010

Private workers

Gamesa

7,262c

2010

Private workers

Alstom

Not available

Not available

Private workers

BIOMASS

Ence

1,663c

2010

Private workers

Acciona

21,000b

2010

Private workers

Alstom

Not available

Not available

Private workers

PHOTO-VOLTAIC

Isofoton

8,000c

2010

Private workers

BP Solar

Not available

Not available

Private workers

Acciona

21,000b

2010

Private workers

a. Spain and Portugal. All activities. b. All activities. c. Specific energy

Source: Own elaboration based on information and annual reports provided by companies .

2.2 Please provide an overview of the current oganisation of electricity distribution in your country. Is there a single distributing company/body? Are there multiple companies? At national or territorial level?

The distribution of energy is carried out by different companies at national level. The largest distributing companies are also the largest producing companies.

2.3 Please indicate the NAME of the three largest distributing companies, the NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES of these companies, and the public or private STATUS of the EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with their employees.

Distribution companies
 

TOP 3

DISTRIBUTING COMPANIES

(the largest 3 in market share)

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Reference year for the number of employees

Private/Public STATUS of WORKERS

Distribution GRID

Endesa

12,151

2010

Private workers

Iberdrola

11,899

2010

Private workers

Gas natural fenosa

19,600

2011

Private workers

Source: Own elaboration based on information and annual reports provided by companies.

2.4. Where there any significant developments/changes since 2008 for a specific company or source of electricity production in numbers of employees or in their public/private status? Was this due to the current economic crisis? Were there any instances of unbundling or mergers? With what consequences in terms of employment and industrial relations?

No major changes are observed in the field of electricity production. The main changes in companies were that in 2008, Gas Natural took over Fenosa and in 2009, Enel, an Italian company, took over Endesa. In both companies, the process implied redundancy procedures in 2008 and 2009 which above all affected older workers.

3. Industrial relations in the electricity sector: Actors

3.1 Please provide details on the membership in the electricity sector and membership of the top 3 producing and distributing companies in employer’s organisation (see questions 2.1-2.3 above). Please provide information on the name of the trade unions organising in this subsector and the level of their membership, or otherwise provide overall data but please include indications on differences in membership densities across subsectors.

The main companies of the sector are members of the Spanish Association of the Electricity Industry (Unión Española de la Industria Eléctrica, UNESA); Iberdola and Endesa are also members of the Spanish Association of Renewable Energy Producers (Asociación de Productores de Energías Renovables, APPA), as well as some of the main companies of renewable energies.

Table 2: Unions delegates for main companies
 

UGT

CCOO

USO

CGT

SIE

ATYPE

ASIE

ELA

CIG

Others

Gas Natural

135

138

102

35

-

-

-

-

27

8

Iberdrola

140

51

40

32

94

63

-

37

-

-

Endesa

324

220

-

-

-

-

74

.

.

5

Source: Members of Workers’ Committee

The main unions within the sector are the General Workers’ Confederation (Unión General de Trabajadores, UGT), and the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CCOO). In addition to these, general unions with a minor presence are the Workers’ Trade Unionist Confederation (Unión Sindical Obrera, USO) and the General Confederation of Labour (Confederación General del Trabajo, CGT), present in Gas Natural and Iberdrola alike. Two nationalist unions are also present in their own territories: the Basque Workers’ Solidarity (Solidaridad de Trabajadores Vascos, ELA-STV), in the case of Iberdrola, and the Galician Trade Union Interconfederation (Confederación Intersindical Galega, CIG), in the case of Gas Natural. Finally, an important presence of company unions is observed in Iberdrola, with the Energy Sector Independent Union (Sindicato Independiente de la Energía, SIE) and the Association of Professionals and Technicians of the Energy Sector (Asociación de Técnicos y Profesionales de la Energía, ATYPE), while Endesa is covered by the presence of the Independent Union of the Energy Sector (Asociación Sindical Independiente de la Energía, ASIPE).

Trade union representation and Membership to employers’ organisation
FOSSIL FUELS

Gas natural fenosa

UNESA

UGT

CCOO

USO

ELA

CIG

Iberdrola

UNESA/APPA

Endesa

UNESA/APPA

NUCLEAR

Endesa

UNESA/APPA

UGT

CCOO

USO

ELA

CIG

Iberdrola

UNESA/APPA

Gas natural fenosa

UNESA

HYDRO

Iberdrola

UNESA/APPA

UGT

CCOO

USO

ELA

Gas natural fenosa

UNESA

Endesa

UNESA/APPA

WIND

Acciona

APPA

UGT

CCOO

Gamesa

-

Alstom

-

BIOMASS

Ence

-

UGT

CCOO

Acciona

APPA

Alstom

-

PHOTO-VOLTAIC

Isofoton

-

UGT

CCOO

BP Solar

APPA

Acciona

APPA

And in the distributing companies

Distribution GRID

companies

Endesa

UNESA/APPA

UGT

CCOO

USO

Iberdrola

UNESA/APPA

Gas natural fenosa

UNESA

3.2 To what extent are employees in the different subsectors (fossil/nuclear/RES) covered by trade union representation? Has there been any impact of the crisis on trade union representation?

Union membership by subsectors isn’t available. In Spain workers representation is established by means of electoral audience.

3.3 Have there been major reorganisations/splits/mergers of trade unions or employers organisations in the sector during the last five years?

No

3.4. Have new actors (trade unions or employers organisations) been founded in recent years, especially in the newly evolving RES industries? Or is the industry covered by established actors?

No

3.5. Have the established sectoral actors (both trade unions and employer organisations) started any initiative to extend their representation to the new emerging parts of the sector? Please describe such initiatives and their results so far.

No information is available on this issue.

4. Role of collective bargaining and social dialogue

4.1 Please provide information on the structure of collective bargaining in the electricity sector. Please, briefly mention the main characteristics of collective bargaining:

  • At what level are collective agreements within the subsectors of the electricity sector (traditional providers, newly emerging providers) concluded (company, sectoral level and/or inter-sectoral level)? Is there a difference between the producers and the distributors?
  • Estimate the coverage rate of collective bargaining in terms of companies and employees: are there any differences in coverage across different subsectors of electricity production?

Collective agreements within the sector are concluded at group level. As explained above, three main companies comprise the energy production and distribution. At present, tendencies towards sectorial or inter-sectorial level agreements are not observed. According to the information provided by social partners, the coverage of collective bargaining in these core companies is in the region of 100%, but no information is available regarding the coverage in smaller companies, with an atomized and decentralised bargaining structure at company and workplace level.

4.2 Please comment on the most recent collective agreements reached at sector level and at company level. Please address the following topics:

  • Pay and working time: level and trends relative to the national average and significant differences across subsectors of the electricity industry.

The main collective agreements of the sector are the following (see summary in table 2):

  1. III Collective Agreement of the Endesa group (2008), signed by UGT, CCOO and ASIE. This agreement establishes an annual working time of 1,696 hours, while annual hours agreed at national level in 2010 was set at 1,761.3 hours. This working time is distributed in different shifts according to each company, line of business, or job centre of the group. As far as pay issues are concerned, the collective agreement established an annual increase of the foreseen Retail Price Index (RPI, inflation) plus 0.5 points. In this sense, in 2008 the agreed pay increase was 2.5%, while the average increase at national level was 3.6%. In 2009, the agreed increase in the company was 2.5% while the average increase at national level was 2.3%. Finally, in 2010 the pay increase in the company was 1.5% compared to the average increase of 1.3% established in national level agreements.
  2. IV Collective Agreement of the Iberdola group (2008), signed by UGT, CCOO, SIE, ATYPE, USO and CGT. This agreement establishes differences between different sections of the group with respect to working time. Hence, for production and distribution the agreed working time was 1,670 hours for the 2008-2010 period, while the working time average at national level increased from 1,748.5 hours in 2008 to 1,761.7 in 2010. In the case of renewable energy and maintenance staff, the annual working time is longer, albeit having decreased between 2008 (1,732 hours) and 2010 (1,716 hours). Regarding the pay level in the company, the collective agreement fixed an annual pay increase based on the Retail Price Index (RPI) of the previous year. In accordance, in 2008 the pay increase in the company (4.2%) was higher than the national average (3.6%), but in 2009 and 2010 the pay increase in the company was lower than average at national level (1.4% as against 2.78% in 2009 and 0,8% as against 1,3% in 2010).
  3. I Collective Agreement of the Gas Natural group (2010), signed by CCOO and UGT. This collective agreement establishes an annual working time for 2010 which amounts to 1,696 hours for production and distribution and 1,715 hours for merchandising staff, while the average working time agreed at national level was 1,761.7 hours. As far as pay increase in the company is concerned, the collective agreement establishes an increase for 2010 of 0.2% (lower than the average of 1.3% agreed at national level). For the next years, the agreement has determined a pay increase based on the foreseen RPI plus 0.5%.
Table 3: Pay and working time in main collective agreements of the sector and national average.
 

Year

Agreed pay increase in the company (%)

Agreed pay increase at national level (%)

Agreed working time in the company

Agreed working time at national level

III Collective Agreement of the Endesa group (2008)

2008

2.5

3.6

1,696

1,748.5

2009

2.5

2.28

1,696

1,752.8

2010

1.5

1.3

1,696

1,761.7

IV Collective Agreement of the Iberdola group (2008)

2008

4.2

3.6

1,670 for production and distribution

1,732 for renewable energy and maintenance

1,748.5

2009

1.4

2.28

1,670 for production and distribution

1,724 for renewable energy and maintenance

1,752.8

2010

0.8

1.3

1,670 for production and distribution

1,716 for renewable energy and maintenance

1,761.7

I Collective Agreement of the Gas Natural group (2010)

2010

0.2

1.3

1,696 for production and distribution

1,715 for merchandising

1,761.7

4.3. Cooperation between the social partners and government

  • Have the government started any social dialogue or social concentration in the electricity sector since 2008? Please illustrate the features and results of any such initiatives.
  • Have bipartite and/or tripartite bodies dealing with specific issues of the electricity industry been created since 2008?
  • Have there been since 2008 any joint initiatives of cooperation between social partners to influence or steer the energy policy developed by the government in your country? Or have such initiatives been taken separately by certain social partner organisations?
  • Have the social partners been involved in the making of the national action plan to reach the 2020 target, or in issues aiming to secure the supply of enough electricity?

As previously mentioned, no initiatives have been developed on this issue.

4.4. Please provide information about the views of the trade unions and employer organisations on the main changes regarding employment and working conditions affecting the sector since 2008 and especially on the impact of the current crisis (for instance on employment trends, quality of jobs, working hours, wages, fixed-term employment, part-time, temporary agency work, participation in training, outsourcing, subcontracting etc.).

The structure of the sector gives rise to significant differences between the core companies of the sector and the outsourced and small- and medium-sized enterprises. In the core companies employment conditions remained stable, with approximately 90% of the employees having open-ended contracts, but several parts of the production process are outsourced, and self-employment and fixed term contracts are generalised. Trends towards an annual consideration of working time are observed –as well as the flexibilisation of working hours– and pay levels remain stable. Employers’ organisations consider that a higher degree of flexibility in tasks (polyvalence) and in working time should be developed, especially due to the high level of training in the companies’ .Furthermore; they consider that is necessary to link pay level with the specific circumstances of each subsector.

In relation to these issues, the unions consider that the main need of the sector is to extend conditions established upon undertaking group level agreements to the whole sector, particularly outsourced firms, by developing sectorial- and inter-sectorial level agreements. But this question has not been endorsed by unions, whose presence is limited to company level, as they fear that it may imply a deterioration of employment conditions.

In the case of RES energy, both CCOO and UGT consider that they are a strategic source of employment. More concretely, in the view of CCOO, renewable energies are a key sector to exit the economic crisis, while UGT considers that this strategic subsector needs substantial public support in order to develop its potential in employment creation. Apropos of the employment conditions in RES, the unions consider that a tendency towards a high homogenisation is required due to the fragmentation and the weight carried by small- and medium-sized enterprises in the subsector.

5. Commentary

The electricity sector in Spain is conditioned by the central role of the main companies of the sector (some of which derive from the former public monopoly) and the development of bargaining at company group level as a way to cover the sector. Nevertheless, dynamics in terms of outsourcing and tendencies towards a higher presence of small- and medium-sized enterprises have led to differences in employment conditions within the sector.

A second observation regarding the electricity sector focuses on the Government strategy regarding energy sources. The Government has set ambitious objectives in accordance with the European strategy to promote renewable energies, with different incentives fostering RES energy, although it appears that the economic recession has changed priorities towards employment generation in spite of the subsector and the energy sources.

Finally, the significance of an increase in the RES subsector, with a central role being given to small- and medium-sized enterprises and producers, is a challenge for social actors in order to create a sectorial level for bargaining. For the time being, company associations have not taken on the role of employers’ organisations, and the presence of the unions is weak in this subsector.

Pablo Sanz, CIREM