Democracy at Work in the Spanish Labour Reform

A tripartite agreement

The Spanish labour reform was agreed by between the government and the social partners. Both UGT as well as CCOO praised it as the first time in the history of Spanish democracy that a labour reform has been agreed by the most representative business and trade union organisations. They underline its character of commitment to the EU, requiring Spain to put an end to the alarming and unjustified temporary and precarious nature of our labour market. The labour reform would therefore constitute a further step towards the recovery funds earmarked for modernising the labour market.

What's in the agreement?

With regards to workers’ rights, the reform contains a lot of improvements since the last reform of the conservative government in 2012. Among other points, it includes:

  • Promotes open-ended contracts;
  • Limits temporary work;
  • Strengthens training contracts;
  • Reduces flexibility for suspensions and dismissals;
  • Regulates the employment flexibility & stabilisation network mechanism.
Strengthening collective bargaining

The agreement also includes some improvements in the area of collective bargaining. For instance, collective agreements will be extended until they are replaced by new ones. On the sectoral level, the company agreement may regulate the choice between payment or compensation of overtime; the schedule and distribution of working time; the adaptation of professional classification and family reconciliation measures. Furthermore, there is now a prevalence of the sectoral agreement in terms of wages, remuneration and working hours. Another positive point is that the sector agreement for the activity carried out is also valid for contracts and subcontracts, which protects the workers in subcontracting chains.

After the tripartite agreement, the labour reform will now undergo parliamentary scrutiny for which the minority government of Pedro Sanchez (PSOE) is seeking votes.