14 Jun Spanish legal reform on Collective Labour Agreements
The Spanish cabinet has promulgated a new regulation concerning Collective Labour Agreements that is said to be forming part of the scenario of necessary general legal reforms aimed to fight against the present economic crisis the country is suffering.
In what refers to the conflicts of concurrence between different collective labour agreements, the new text of article 84,2 of the Statute of the Workers fixes a functional priority of an existing company’s agreement over any agreement of industry’s sector scope in relation to certain matters that are identified as the ones being nearer to the reality of the companies, and in which a specific regulation is more justified, for the sake of obtaining a better adjustment of the labour relations to the economic and productive surroundings in which they develop.
A more dynamic system of negotiation of agreements is obtained by means of establishing a necessary minimum content in the agreements in article 85 of the Statute of the Workers regarding terms of expiry of existing agreements, cessation of same and new agreement’s negotiation; the setting of a maximum term of negotiation of those and finally, the commitment of the parts to be put under procedures of effective solution of discrepancies when the maximum term of negotiation is exhausted and the agreement has not been reached. Also it scores as necessary agreement’s content the establishment of measures to assist the internal flexibility in the company, which will favour its adaptability to the changes that may take place in the conditions of the economic and social surroundings, flexibility that, to guarantee its balance, will have to be negotiated with the representatives of the workers.
Some other new features are the adaptation of the regulation to the new reality about enterprises who are subject to negotiate collective labour agreements, such as the groups of companies or the denominated network companies arisen within the framework of productive decentralization processes, regarding which the norm talks about calling them plurality of linked companies due to structural or productive reasons and nominatively identified.
It is also modified, for the sake of a greater clarity and simplicity, the legitimation in the agreements directed to a group of workers with specific professional profile.
On the enterprise side, the rules about legitimation in the sectorial scope are completed by the incorporation of enterprise associations when they give occupation to a significant percentage of workers, as well as in the case of absence of associations that therefore do not reach sufficient representativeness in the corresponding sector according to the general rules, the new rules attribute legitimation to the most representative enterprise associations of state or Independent Community scope.
Finally, once the legitimation rules are defined, new article 88 of the Statute of the Workers establishes in a more clarifying way the norms about composition of the negotiating commission, without substantial alteration of the present ones, even though now including new features on sectorial agreements for cases of nonexistence of organs of representation of the workers, as well as of nonexistence of enterprise associations that could represent a given sector. In these cases the negotiation commission will be respectively formed by the most representative trade union or enterprise associations in the state or Independent Community scope.