Definition and effects of the collective agreement in Spain
The collective agreement (as defined in Title III of the Workers’ Statute Collective bargaining and Collective agreements) is an instrument to regulate the workplace, since the representatives of both employees and employers negotiate the rights and duties contained in the agreement.
Article 82 of the above-mentioned law states that the collective agreement constitutes an expression of agreement freely adopted by the parties by virtue of their collective autonomy.
The collective agreement aims to regulate working conditions and productivity, as well as the parties’ duties in order to achieve working consensus. For example, a collective agreement may contain provisions relating to minimum wage, work hours, distribution of work hours or measures to reconcile professional and family life.
The collective agreement will apply to the employees and employer from its entry into force until the agreed deadline. The agreement will automatically renew each year, as long as none of the parties withdraws from the agreement.
Only the parties, through their representatives, can modify the agreement.
Types and Content of the Collective Agreement in Spain
There are several types of collective agreements:
- Sectoral collective agreement: regulates a specific economic sector or branch of activity and is applicable nationally or in a particular autonomous community.
- Company or consortium of companies’ collective agreement: in order to respond to specific organisation or productivity needs.
As stated in art. 87 of the Workers’ Statute, only some persons or organisations can lead the negotiations depending on the type of collective agreement.
However, the employees and the employer must always be represented.
- As part of a company or consortium of companies’ collective agreement, the work council, the employee delegates or the trade union could represent the employees’ interests. However, in the framework of a sectoral collective agreement, the most significant trade union organisation would act on behalf of the employees.
- Likewise, as part of a company or consortium of companies’ collective agreement, the employer has the ability to represent himself during the negotiations. However, in the framework of a sectoral collective agreement, a business association must represent the employer.
The elected representative of the workers and employers form the special negotiating body.
Although, article 85 of the Workers’ Statute sets minimum requirements of the collective agreement, the representatives will have the autonomy to extend the scope of the agreement.
Astrid Berthomieu & Nicolás Melchior
This article is not considered as legal advice