Spain: Court rejects appeal on labour reform

A court has rejected complaints against sections of the government’s Labour Reform Act.

The Parliament of the region of Navarre lodged an appeal with the Spanish Constitutional Court concerning three aspects of the Labour Reform approved in 2012 (Royal Decree-Act 3/2012) which it considered unconstitutional.

In July 2014, the Constitutional Court rejected the appeal and ruled that the three sections were constitutional.

The court ruling applied to the following aspects.

The first is that the contract for entrepreneurs has a probationary period of one year. If the employer does not want to retain an employee after that period, they can dismiss them without giving any severance pay.

Secondly, the National Consultative Commission of Collective Agreements (CCNCC) and its equivalent autonomous organisations can decide on the process of ‘descuelgue’ (which could be translated as the ‘leaving’ or ‘taking down’ process). The ‘descuelgue’ is an extraordinary measure which allows the company to stop applying the collective agreement (that is, the employer can apply working conditions that do not comply with the agreement). So if trade unions and employers’ representatives do not reach an agreement on the modification of working conditions, in order to solve the conflict consultative commissions have the power to decide if a company can ‘leave’ the collective agreement and apply different working conditions.

Finally, company agreements take precedence over sectorial agreements on aspects relating to working conditions.

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