EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Sectoral restructuring plans

Phase: Management
  • Access to finance
  • Income support for workers
  • Social Dialogue
  • Start-up support
  • Training
Ultima modifica: 03 August, 2021
Nome originale:

Planes de restructuración sectorial

Nome in inglese:

Sectoral restructuring plans


The sectoral restructuring plans started to be implemented at the end of the 1970s, in a period marked by economic crisis, the restructuring of different industry sectors and the transition towards democracy, which implied, among other things, the legalisation of social partners and the institutionalisation of social dialogue. Indeed, the first sectoral restructuring plan, affecting the shipbuilding sector, was negotiated between the government and the social partners in 1978, by means of the so-called 'Castellana Agreements'. In the 1980s, different sectoral restructuring plans were implemented. In recent years, sectoral restructuring plans were implemented in the textile (2006-2009), manufacturing of shoes (2008-2011), manufacturing of toys (2008-2011), the coal Industry (2013-2018) and the vineyard sector (2019-2023). 



Main characteristics

Each sectoral restructuring plan implemented has its specific own characteristics. While some plans (such as those addressed to the toys or the shoes sectors) were aimed to promote and strengthen the activities that were the object of the plan, the one for the coal industry was aimed at alleviating the consequences of industry decline and business closures, for instance by transferring workers to other activities. However, some general and common characteristics can be found with regard to the enabling factors and implementation process.

Sectoral restructuring plans have always been implemented in industrial sectors facing crisis, usually as a result of delocalisation of productive activities to countries with lower labour costs. These sectors, generally concentrated in specific regions, represent an important share of employment and economic activity in those geographical areas. Accordingly, employment adjustment plans implemented as a consequence of the crisis have relevant consequences in terms of economic activity, unemployment and social cohesion in specific regions. Bearing this in mind, attention should be drawn to the local or regional dimension of the restructuring plans. For instance, the toy industry is mostly concentrated in the region of Valencia, the textile in Valencia and Catalonia and the coal industry only existed in the town of Teruel in Aragón in eastern Spain, around León and Palencia in Castilla y León, northwest Spain,  Puertollano in Castilla-La Mancha, in central Spain and the eastern towns of Cuenca del Caudal and Cuenca del Nalón in Asturias.

All the plans are firstly promoted by the national government, who involves the regional governments and calls the sectoral social partners to discuss its design. Thus, all the plans involve sectoral social dialogue between the national government, the regional governments affected and the sectoral social partners.

The plans are financed by the national government generally with the support of EU funds. 

The measures are conditioned for the specific goals of the plan. However, they tend to include many different measures such as training addressed to workers, financial support to companies, income support for workers who are affected by employment adjustment or even start-up support measures in those plans that aim to foster new economic activities in the regions affected.


  • National funds
  • European funds
  • Social partners (jointly)

Involved actors

National government
Agreements are drawn up between trade unions, employers and the administration.
Regional/local government
Agreements are drawn up between regional governments and social partners.
Employer or employee organisations
Agreements are drawn up between trade unions, employers and the administration.


Effectivenss depends on the sector and the specific economic situation. It is indeed complex to evaluate the effectiveness of plans affecting different sectors and having different goals (relocation, reduction of unemployment, business creation, and so on). Moreover, lack of official evaluations make this assessments complex.

Regarding the coal industry framework, the investment of €349 million in the sector expected in the framework for 2018 was finally reduced to €319 million. However, during 2018 the framework was funding aids to local entities in mining regions affected by the closure of non-energy mining operations whose economic activity is linked specifically to this mining activity. This aid was aimed at promoting the recovery of degraded territories as a result of the cessation of extractive activity and to facilitate their recovery and the creation of alternative employment.

Regarding the vineyard sector, €75.6 million have been executed out of an initial budget of €420.7 million for 2019 and 2020 within the framework of the National restructuring support programme of the sector. 89% contributed to restructuring operations costs, while 11% to compensate the participating winegrowers for the loss of income derived from the application of the measure. The number of beneficiaries has been 8,914 in 2014, 9,552 in 2015, 8,070 in 2016, 8,464 in 2017, 5,679 in 2018 and 6,003 in 2019 (Ministry of Agriculture 2020).



The plans provide support to workers affected by restructuring processes in terms of income aid or employability measures. In some cases, they also contribute to save the sector affected (Ministry of Agriculture 2020). Moreover, the plans are the outcome of a negotiated process between the government and the social partners.


In some plans, the main focus was on income support measures instead of employability and entrepreneurship measures that could provide future opportunities to workers affected (for example vineyard sector). 


The Coal Industry Framework 2013-2018 foresees that between 2013 and 2018, the workforce in the coal mining sector will decrease by 15%. In order to alleviate the social consequences of the dismissals, the Coal Industry Framework 2013-2018 provides incentives, on the one hand, for voluntary redundancy. Workers who opt for voluntary redundancy  will receive a payout of €10,000 in addition to compensation equal to 35 days per year worked up to a maximum of 30 months. On the other hand, it allows workers older than 53 years to be involved in early retirement plans that will provide 70% of the gross wage until they are entitled to receive the ordinary pension. Besides, it includes some aid for training and outplacement measures. Regarding the measures aiming to foster an alternative economic plan for the coal regions, the plan will create two funds addressed to renew infrastructures (€ 250 millions) and to promote entrepreneurship projects (€150 millions). Finally, the plan guaranties that the contribution of coal mining to generating Spanish electricity will be equal to 7.5%.
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