Still no sectoral agreement for savings banks
In September 1999, after 20 months of bargaining, trade unions and employers in Spain's savings banks sector have still been unable to reach a new collective agreement.
Trade unions and employers in Spain's savings banks sector have been negotiating the modernisation of their national sectoral agreement since January 1998. They have so far failed to reach an agreement due to the irreconcilable demands of the two sides regarding working hours and wages, and the lack of agreement among the trade unions.
The negotiations in 1988 were marked by the elections of workforce representatives from among trade union candidates in the banks and the failure of an agreement between just the CC.OO trade union and the Savings Banks' Association for Labour Relations (Asociación de Cajas de Ahorros para las Relaciones Laborales, ACARL). CC.OO is the majority trade union in the savings banks, having won 42% of the votes in the elections, but did not have sufficient support to make the agreement generally effective throughout the sector, and ACARL in the end backed down.
In 1999, ACARL has taken a hard bargaining position, leading to the presentation of a proposal in June. The employers' association demanded, among other points: the abolition of seniority pay supplements for new employees and the freezing of seniority supplements for current workers; and the opening of 5% of offices morning and afternoon from Monday to Sunday, 365 days a year. This proposal was unanimously rejected by trade union representatives, supported by a demonstration of union delegates.
In September, the negotiations reopened in a less tense climate, but not without problems. The unions are still not presenting a joint proposal for anew agreements and ACARL has dropped its demand for afternoon opening (because this is being achieved company by company, for example in Caja de Navarra, Caja Madrid, Caja Laboral and Caja Pamplona). However, the employers continue to demand the reduction and freezing of seniority supplements and want to increase probationary periods to 12 months and to make more use of work-experience contracts.
CC.OO and the other two unions - UGT and the Trade Union Confederation of Savings Banks (Confederación Sindical de Cajas, CSICA) - are not willing to accept a wage reduction of any kind. The unions consider the seniority supplement to be non-negotiable and will not accept any type of contract that is not, in their opinion, adapted to the reality of the sector. Regarding working time, the unions still have different positions. CC.OO would agree to negotiate opening in the afternoon and on Saturdays with two shifts in no more than 5% of branches in exchange for creating employment, and it seems that CSICA may support this proposal. UGT is not willing to accept afternoon opening in any circumstances and calls for the introduction of the 35-hour week. CC.OO claims that employees are working more hours than they are paid for, so the main aim should be the respect of the agreed working time regulations.