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 Spain

Key Facts

Population46,196,276
Collective Bargaining Coverage 70%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 19%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry – but new law gives precedence to company agreements

Workplace Representation

works council – although dominated by unions which are also present directly

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned companies

Company Board Structure

monistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Trade Unions

Probably only around one in seven employees in Spain (14%) are union members, although the results of elections to works councils indicate that unions have much wider support. There are two dominant union confederations in Spain, CCOO and the UGT, although there are other important groupings at regional level and in the public sector.

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Collective Bargaining

Negotiations take place at national, industry and company level in Spain, with a national agreement generally providing a framework for lower-level bargaining. The overall level of coverage of collective bargaining is high at around 80% of employees, and major legal changes introduced in 2012, have not changed this.

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Workplace Representation

Elected works councils are the main channel of workplace representation for employees in Spain, although the law also gives a specific role to the unions at the workplace and in larger workplaces the trade union delegate may be the key figure. The works councils themselves are dominated by the unions and, as well as having information and consultation rights, they also bargain on pay and conditions at company level.

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Board-level Representation

There is no overall right to employee board-level representation. However, there are a small number of employees on the boards of some publicly owned companies.

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European-level Representation

Spanish members of bodies concerned with European Works Councils and European Companies are chosen by the unions which either together or separately have majority support in the companies concerned. On European Companies, the legislation makes clear that they should be selected in line with the support that the unions have received in the works council elections.

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Health and Safety Representation

Health and safety representatives in Spain should be present in all companies and workplaces employing more than five people. They are chosen by and from among the existing employee representatives. They have substantial consultation rights, and in larger companies (50 or more employees) they work with the employer in health and safety committees.

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Financial Participation

Despite the efforts of the EU to boost the incidence of workers’ financial participation employee share ownership schemes in Spain are at a lower level than in the 1990s. With regard to how widespread profit-sharing schemes are in Spain recent studies come to different conclusions.

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