Spain: Discussion over salary rises delays renewal of national agreement

Social partners continued to discuss the renewal of the Agreement for Employment and Social Dialogue 2012–2014 right up to the end of 2014. The agreement had been expected to be signed before the end of the year.

In November 2014, the main employer organisations supported the idea of maintaining salary moderation for the next two years. The Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organisations (CEOE) suggested that salaries should increase only by 0.6% in 2015 and 2016. This would mean maintaining the type of salary restraint applied in the previous years.

Trade unions, meanwhile, demanded a formula which could allow more flexibility. They argued that there were companies which had successfully emerged from the crisis which were ready to offer better financial conditions to their employees.

Against this backdrop, in November 2014, the General Director of the Bank of Spain agreed that it was time for salaries to rise, especially for the most competitive and dynamic enterprises. He said the business situation was improving significantly, so the most successful companies should consider increasing their wages.

However, in December 2014, the Bank of Spain said widespread salary increases were not recommended. It said a general increase in salaries would mean a step backwards and would damage competitiveness. It said labour costs should be directly linked to the specific situation of each company.

In December 2014, the Secretary of Organisation and Communication of the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO), Fernando Lezcano said salaries must increase, and that the salary devaluation experienced since 2009 should stop. He said average salaries had fallen by 7.5% since 2009.

The ongoing dispute over possible salary rises meant there was still no renewal of the agreement.

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