Country overview

Lionel Fulton (Labour Research Department)

There is no general right to employee board-level representation in Spain. Although the draft legislation to implement the directive led to some debate among experts and was considered in detail by the Economic and Social Council, on which both employers and unions are represented, there was no wider public debate.

There is no general right to employee board-level representation in Spain in either the public or the private sector. There are a small number of union representatives on the boards of some public and recently privatised companies and employees also have rights to be represented in local savings banks. However, these are very much the exceptions and Spain has no tradition of employee involvement at board level.
Work on transposing the directive began before the change of government in Spain in March 2004 and by July 2004 an initial draft of the necessary legislation had already been prepared. For more details see report from Armando Fernandez Steinko (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) September 2004. This draft was presented to unions and employers in September 2004 and was subsequently discussed in Spain's Economic and Social Council (CES) which brings together representatives of the unions, employers and other groups, such as farmers and consumers. The CES presented its opinion in May 2005, which was approved by 31 votes to two, with six abstentions. A draft bill was approved by the government in November 2005 and presented to the Spanish parliament. It finally completed all its parliamentary stages in October 2006. The long delay meant that the legislation finally passed also transposed the directive on employee involvement in European cooperative societies.
During the long period before it was finally passed, there was some expert debate about the proposal, with the unions considering whether it could lead to a more participative culture in Spanish companies, while the employers were hostile to any limitation on their right to manage. However, there was no widespread public debate.

Special negotiating body (SNB)

Standard rules under the fallback procedure

Misuse of procedures and structural change

L. Fulton (2008) Anchoring the European Company in National Law - Country Overviews (online publication, prepared for