Spain: Role of social dialogue in industrial policies

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 15 Rugsėjis 2014



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In Spain, the weight of the industrial sector is lower than the European average in terms of GDP and employment. Moreover, some structural weaknesses (low investment in R+D, low technological intensity, etc.) are usually presented as obstacles to its competitiveness. Involvement of social partners in industrial policies has traditionally been rather limited, except in some areas such as training or restructuring. With the previous socialist government, social partners at the national level were consulted in order to discuss industrial policy. In addition, they reached a tripartite agreement on industrial policy, whose impact in terms of outcomes was very limited. Since the Popular Party took office, social dialogue on industrial policy has been non-existent, except in some sectors such as coal mining or tourism. On the other hand, the unions have strongly criticised the lack of an active industrial policy orientated to promoting growth. In this sense, they have asked the government to constitute a tripartite committee aiming to promote economic growth and industrial development.

Part 1: Overall role and involvement of social partners in industrial policy in the national context

Industrial policy is in this context used in its broader sense as…

those policies that have an impact on the cost, price and innovative competitiveness of industry and individual sectors, such as standardisation or innovation policies, or sectoral policies targeting e.g. the innovation performance of individual sectors.

COM(2010) 614 An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage. EC 2010

The policy instruments are then defined as the method or mechanism used by government, political parties, business or individuals to achieve a desired effect, through legal or economic means.

Industrial policy initiatives are often undertaken unilaterally by the government but other forms may include social partners in different constellations, including:

  • bipartite initiative (a common approach by the social partners);
  • tripartite initiative (the social partners in tandem with the public authorities);
  • tripartite+ initiative (the three stakeholders in combination sometimes with other civil society players such as NGOs, research centres or qualified figures);
  • public-private partnership initiatives (one social partner and the public authorities); and
  • unilateral initiatives by a single social partner

1. Is there in your country currently a policy framework to stimulate investments that both create economic growth and employment? Tick Yes/No

In Spain there is not a policy framework to stimulate investment that both creates economic growth and employment. Since the Popular Party took office in November 2011, its priority has been to reduce the public deficit rather than to promote economic growth. In addition, it has put a lot of emphasis on removing the obstacles which have impeded Spain’s access to international financial markets with rates of sustainable yield. On the other hand, it has given priority to reducing the unemployment rate, by means of structural reforms. Thus, it approved a labour legislation reform which sanctioned greater flexibility (ES1202021I). According to the government, this reform can also improve Spanish competitiveness as it enables companies to reduce labour costs, thus favoring an internal devaluation which can promote Spanish companies’ exports.

Table 1

Policy framework

Yes

No

Economic growth

 

X

Employment

X

 

Both economic growth and employment

 

X

Competitiveness

X

 

2. Is there evidence in your country of involvement of social partners in the process of formulating industrial policy interventions? If yes, please indicate which types of involvement:

With the previous Socialist government, social partners were partly involved in the process of formulating industrial policy interventions at a cross-sectoral level. Thus, in 2011 an agreement on industrial, energy and innovation policies was achieved by the government and the social partners. However, the agreement did not include specific measures. Rather, it included a set of guidelines and common commitments aiming to: increase the weight of the industrial sector in the Spanish economy; promote a sustainable energy policy that will reduce energy dependence and encourage economic competitiveness; and foster an economic growth model based on innovation, knowledge and added value.

In addition, the government consulted the social partners in 2010 order to elaborate the Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020, a plan which is supposed to structure the new industrial Spanish policy until 2020.

Since the Popular Party took office, social partners have not been involved in the process of formulating industrial policies. Moreover, the unions have been critical of the policy approach of the government which, according to them, is too focused on austerity. In this sense, they claim that an active industrial policy is needed to face the economic crisis. Accordingly, on the 8th of October 2012, the industry federations of the two most important Spanish unions, CCOO and UGT, called for a demonstration demanding that the government develops an active industrial policy. In the manifesto jointly written by both unions, they criticize the weakness of Spanish industry. Moreover, they declare that from 2008 to 2012, 806,100 industry jobs were lost. Bearing that in mind, they proposed the creation of a tripartite committee aiming to promote economic growth and industrial development.

The employer organizations CEOE and CEPYME welcome the policies of austerity implemented by the government.

Table 2

Type of social partner involvement:

… in the formulation of horizontal (cross-sector) interventions

… in the formulation of vertical (sector-, industry- or company-specific) interventions

Sector-specific involvement

No

Yes, to some extent in some sectors by means of Industrial Observatories. These are tripartite bodies that look at sectors of the economy from an entrepreneurial, labour and technological perspective, analyse their strengths and recommend ways to improve them. There are industrial observatories in sectors such as ICT, textiles, chemicals, manufacture of automobiles, wood, metal, construction or paper

Cross-sector involvement

Yes. In 2011, a social and economic agreement for growth, employment and guaranteed pensions (in Spanish, 166Kb PDF) was signed by the government and the social partners. It covered pensions, active labour market policies, industrial, energy and innovation policies. The agreement on industrial, energy and innovation policies does not include specific measures, as in the other agreements (pensions, etc.). It is rather a set of guidelines and common commitments aiming to: increase the weight of industry in the Spanish economy; promote a sustainable energy policy that will reduce energy dependence and encourage economic competitiveness; foster an economic growth model based on innovation, knowledge and added value. Since the Popular Party took the office in November 2011, cross sector involvement in the formulation of horizontal intervention has been non- existent.

No

Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership?

No

No

3. How have social partners been involved in the industrial policy formulation process?

Table 3
 

Please indicate (X) the extent to which the different types of involvement are used, including whether this involvement is statutory:

Level of government?

Sector focus?

Specific form of social partner involvement:

Statutory/mandatory

Very common/ used in most policy processes but not statutory

Fairly common but not consistently used

Rarely used

Not used at all

National or regional?

Sectoral or cross-sectoral?

Tripartite standing committee

   

X

   

National level

At sectoral level, within the Industrial Observatories.

Tripartite ad hoc committees

     

X

 

At national level. Tripartite ad hoc committees were constituted to discuss energy and industrial policies with the previous socialist government. Currently, industrial policy formulation does not involve tripartite ad hoc committees.

At cross-sectoral level

High-level groups or other multi-stakeholder committees involving other stakeholders in addition to social partners

   

X

   

At local level. At the local level it is common to find the so-called Strategic Plans. Strategic Plans are socio-economic plans characterised by the involvement of the main regional, economic and social partners. They tend to focus on assuring jobs and attracting foreign investment. The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces states that approximately 70% of cities with more than 75,000 inhabitants have a Strategic Plan.

Cross-sectoral level

If multi-stakeholder committees:

Please indicate which types of other stakeholders are (typically) involved:

Hearings

             

Consultations

   

X

   

National level. A commission made up of members from each Ministry elaborated the Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020 (implemented by the previous Socialist government). The social partners as well as the Autonomous Communities were consulted

Cross-sector and sectoral level

Currently, the Ministry of Industry is consulting the industry federations of the unions UGT, CCOO and USO about the General Frame of Coal Mining 2013-2018. In 2012, the Popular Party government opened a 6 months consultation process with the social partners aiming to discuss the National Plan of Tourism 2012-2016. The plan was developed by the Ministry of Industry

Conferences

       

X

   

Other - please specify below:

             

High-level groups without social partners

   

X

   

National level

Sectoral level.

In March 2012 a high level group on the Spanish digital agenda was set up. It was made up of independent experts and it submitted a report to the government.

Consultation/hearing involving big companies without unions

 

X

     

National level.

The previous Socialist government and the current Popular Party government use to discuss or consult economic and industrial policy formulation with the so-called “Enterprise Council for Competitiveness”. This is a lobby made up of 15 of the biggest Spanish companies

Cross-sector and sectoral level.

In July 2013 The Ministry of Industry called on the biggest electricity companies in order to consult with them about the electricity reform.

4. Is there evidence in your country of initiatives that follows recommendations and development at EU-level? If yes, please indicate in which sectors:

The Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020 is structured around 5 pillars: improving the competitiveness of industry; fostering innovation and R+D; encouraging the growth and dynamism of SMEs; promoting companies’ exports; reinforcing strategic sectors. According to the report of the Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020 (page 43), these pillars are in line with the industrial policy guidelines proposed by the European Commission (2010).

On the other hand, the Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020 also takes into consideration the recommendations of the Ad-Hoc Group on Defining Critical Raw Materials’ report (European Commission Enterprise and Industry, 2010). Bearing this in mind, the government commits to reducing the consumption of raw materials by promoting research, efficiency and recycling; to promote a sustainable exploitation of raw materials; to ensure a fair trade of raw materials; and to monitor the raw materials considered critical and their availability.

5. Which types of industrial policy instruments/interventions at different government levels have social partners been involved in? Please indicate degree of involvement

3 = high degree of involvement,

2 = involvement to some extent,

1 = low degree of involvement,

0 = no involvement.

Table 4

Policy instruments:

National level

Regional level

Local level

Public investment programmes:

0

0

0

infrastructure

1

1

0

construction

1

   

building renovation

0

0

0

other

     

Innovation programmes

1

1

0

Support for R&D

1

1

0

Cluster promotion

1

1

1

Export promotion

1

1

0

Internationalisation of SMEs

1

0

0

Improvement of access to finance:

     

loan

0

0

0

loan guarantee programmes

0

0

0

venture capital funding

0

0

0

other

     

Public procurement policies

0

0

0

Tax and duty policies

0

0

0

Adapting the skills base

3

3

1

Subsidies for restructuring/ bail-out of companies in crisis

2-3

2-3

2

Social plans in case of restructuring. Training/re-training

2-3

2-3

2

Investment incentives

1

1

0

Energy efficiency/ energy shift

0

0

0

Energy supply security

0

0

0

Access to raw materials

0

0

0

Prices of energy and raw materials

0

0

0

Others, please specify below:

     
       

6. Which, if any, positive effect(s) can be related to the involvement of social partners in the industrial policy process in your country?

In Spain, the involvement of social partners in the industrial policy process has been traditionally rather limited, except in some areas such as training, restructuring and social plans. When in 2011 the social partners together with the previous Socialist government reached an agreement on industrial policy, the content of that agreement lacked specific measures. Concerning the formulation of the Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020 (enacted by the previous Socialist government in 2010), the social partners exercised a mere consultative role. Accordingly, it can be pointed out that the effects of social dialogue on the formulation and implementation of industrial policy with the previous socialist government did not produce specific outcomes.

Since the Popular Party took the office in November 2011, social dialogue has been non-existent. This also applies to economic and industrial policy. As has been explained in question 2, the unions proposed the creation of a tripartite committee aiming to promote economic growth and industrial development. However, the government tends to make decisions unilaterally on industrial policy, except in some sectors such as in tourism or coal mining where the social partners have been consulted.

Table 5

Positive effects

Tick (X) where applicable

Please comment briefly: How did effect manifest itself?

Speed of policy process

 

Information not available.

Robustness of policy initiatives

 

Information not available.

Relevance of policy initiatives

 

Information not available.

Dynamism in the policy process

 

Information not available.

European coordination

 

Information not available.

Ownership of policy initiatives

 

Information not available.

Coherence and coordination of labour market, education, and economic policies

x

In Spain social partners are involved in the policy decision and policy implementation of the training policies, especially with regard to the life long learning policies. They are involved by means of a Tripartite committee: the Spanish Council for Vocational Training

Stimulating public-private partnerships

 

Information not available.

Others, please specify below:

 

Information not available.

.

   

7. Which, if any, problems or challenges related to involvement of social partners in the industrial policy process have been encountered in your country?

Table 6

Problems/challenges:

Tick (X) where applicable

Please comment briefly: How did the problem manifest itself?

Increased bureaucracy

 

Information not available.

Lengthy policy processes

 

Information not available.

Lengthy bargaining processes

 

Information not available.

Dilution (circumvention) of parliamentary democracy

 

Information not available.

Problems of establishing accountability

 

Information not available.

Lack of dynamism in the policy process

 

Information not available.

Lack of culture to involve social partners

 

Information not available

Others, please specify below:

   

.

   

Part 2: Description of relevant sector examples of social partner involvement

This section aims to identify examples of policies targeting specific sectors and involving social dialogue. Among the industrial policies treated in the previous section in question 5, please select 2-3 examples which represent significant industrial policies in your country and describe the policy instruments used and the contribution of social partners to the shaping of the policy and the outcome of their involvement.

The selection of examples should be guided by the following criteria:

  • importance of the sector to the national economy;
  • level of government support to the industry; and
  • best practice of social dialogue in the country.
Example 1

Name of the instrument:

Plan Integral de Política Industrial 2020

Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020

Sector:

Cross-sector

Type of instrument applied:

(use categories from question 5. Some sector policies may apply more than one instrument

Energy efficiency; transport; access to raw materials; loan guarantee programmes; innovation programmes; adapting the skill base; infrastructure; investment incentives; export promotion; support R+D; internalisation SMEs

Timing:

(Period of implementation of instrument)

Formally, 2011-2020. However, the timing for the specific measures included in the action plan spans 2011-2015

Operational level

National

Regional

Local

Please tick the government level and/or provide details of geographical implementation area if relevant:

X

   

Funding:

(Please describe the size of the instrument and detail the source(s) of funding, e.g. EU, state budget, levies, stakeholder contributions, etc.).

The Integral Plan for Industrial Policy 2020 is structured around 5 pillars:

- improve the competitiveness of industry: funding 31,327 millions €

- foster innovation and R+D: funding € 7,815 million

- encourage the growth and dynamism of SMEs: funding € 31, 493 million

- promote companies’ exports: funding € 2,823 million

- reinforce strategic sectors: funding € 9,384 million

Target group(s):

(please describe target group in terms of sector/industry, type of company, geographical criteria and/or other relevant characteristics)

It is an integral plan targeted at the cross-sectoral level.

However, SME companies are targeted in many measures. Moreover, there are seven strategic sectors targeted: manufacture of vehicles; aerospace; biotechnology; ICT; environment protection industry; renewal energies; agro food

Rationale/motivation for the instrument:

(please describe the problem that the instrument should address – for instance: market failure, need to increase sector competitiveness, crisis intervention, etc.)

To correct structural weaknesses of the Spanish economy:

- Low weight of industry in the economy. 15% of the total GDP compared to an average of 18% in European countries

- Low technological intensity and low investment in R+D

- Low orientation towards exportation

- Gradual loss of competitiveness

- Small size of companies

Policy stage

Please describe stage of involvement of the social actors i.e.

policy preparation (consultation),

policy decision (co-determination? and

policy implementation (fx. by involvement in agencies)

Policy preparation

Objectives of the instrument:

(please describe the objectives and any quantitative targets set for the instrument– e.g.

increased employment by X% in sector Y by 20xx

increase in sector exports by X%

increase in FDI by X%

Pillar 1: improve the competitiveness of industry

- in 2020 the Unitary Labour Costs of Spain should be equal or lower than those recorded in European countries on average

- Converge with EU 27 in terms of energy efficiency in 2020

- Increase the rate in the Logistic Performance Index of the World Bank from 3.6 to 3.9 in 2020

Pillar 2: foster innovation and R+D

- In 2015 increase by € 6,000 million private investment in R+D

- In terms of intellectual property, Spain should become the 7th European country in terms of patent requests.

Pillar 3: encourage the growth and dynamism of SMEs

- The percentage of median companies in Spain should become at least equal to the percentage observed in the EU 27 countries as an average

Pillar 4: promote companies’ exports

- In 2020 converge export rates with the average of European countries

- In 2020 increase from 31% to 51% the level of exports outside the Euro zone

Pillar 5: reinforce strategic sectors

- In 2020 the weight of the seven strategic sectors identified in employment should be equal to 40% (in 2011 it was 37%).

Activities and implementation:

(Please give details on the implementation of the intervention)

Generally, it can be pointed out that most of the measures included in the plan have not been implemented owing to the crisis and deficit reduction efforts. According to the Ministry of Industry, during the recession period the focus of industrial policies has been to improve Spanish competitiveness by reducing labour and energy costs.

Social partner involvement

 

Type of social partner involvement:

(Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership? – cf. qu. 1)

Tripartite

Level of involvement of social partners involvement:

European, National, regional, local

Sectoral

National

Specific form of social partner involvement:

(tripartite standing or ad hoc committee, high-level group, hearing, consultation, conferences, etc.? – cf. qu. 2)

Consultation

Timing and nature of social partner involvement:

(Please provide more details on the processes that social partners were involved in, their input, the timing, etc.)

Information not available

Impact of social partner involvement on design and implementation of instrument:

(Please describe how/if the design and/or implementation was affected through the involvement of social partners)

The plan does not specify to what extent the ideas and proposals of the social partners were taken into consideration.

Other stakeholders involved, if any:

(please name stakeholders and briefly describe their roles)

Autonomous Communities Government

Results and outcomes

Most of the outcomes and results should be achieved in 2020.

Outputs/results:

(Please give details of the outputs/results of the intervention; e.g number of jobs created/retained, number of workers upskilled; wage increases, investment increases, increased co-operation between social partners, etc.)

Information not available

Assessment of effectiveness:

(Please provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention - were the objectives reached? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

Information not available

Possible explanations for the effectiveness of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of effectiveness achieved, including the contribution of the social partner involvement; e.g. improved bargaining process? Increased dynamism in the policy process? Other explanations?)

Information not available

Assessment of efficiency:

Did the outputs/results measure up to the effort/resources invested? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

Information not available

Possible explanations for the efficiency of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of efficiency, including the contribution of the social partner involvement)

Information not available

Example 2

Name of the instrument:

Plan Nacional e Integral de Turismo 2012-2015

National and Integral Tourism Plan 2012-2015

Sector:

Tourism

Type of instrument applied:

(use categories from question 5. Some sector policies may apply more than one instrument

Export promotion; loan guarantee programmes; infrastructure; tax and duty policies; internationalisation of companies; adapting the skill base

Timing:

(Period of implementation of instrument)

2012-2015

Operational level

National

Regional

Local

Please tick the government level and/or provide details of geographical implementation area if relevant:

X

   

Funding:

(Please describe the size of the instrument and detail the source(s) of funding, e.g. EU, state budget, levies, stakeholder contributions, etc.).

The document which explains the plan does not describe the size and funding of the different measures included. The estimation of the total budget for the plan is between 1,600 and 1,800 million Euros.

Target group(s):

(please describe target group in terms of sector/industry, type of company, geographical criteria and/or other relevant characteristics)

The plan is targeted at the tourism sector. It does not specify any other target in terms of type of company, geographical criteria or other features.

Rationale/motivation for the instrument:

(please describe the problem that the instrument should address – for instance: market failure, need to increase sector competitiveness, crisis intervention, etc.)

The main motivation of the programme is to reverse the loss of competitiveness of the tourism industry observed in the previous years.

Moreover, the plan aims to adapt the sector to new changes: demographic change, lowering of demand in western Europe, over supply within the market motivated by the emergence of new competitors, especially in the Mediterranean area and in the eastern European countries.

In addition, the goal of the plan is to promote one of the most strategic sectors of the Spanish economy which accounts for 10% GDP and 11% of employment.

Policy stage

Please describe stage of involvement of the social actors i.e.

policy preparation (consultation),

policy decision (co-determination? and

policy implementation (fx. by involvement in agencies)

Policy preparation

The plan has been developed by the Ministry of Industry. The social partners were involved in the policy preparation to some extent. Within the different phases of the policy preparation, the plan was sent to the social partners. At the same time, they were invited to submit proposals. However, the plan does not state how the proposals sent by social partners were taken into consideration.

Objectives of the instrument:

(please describe the objectives and any quantitative targets set for the instrument– e.g.

increased employment by X% in sector Y by 20xx

increase in sector exports by X%

increase in FDI by X%

- To increase tourism activity and its profitability

- To create quality employment

- To improve the international position of Spain

- To make the “logo Spain” more visible

- To favour public-private partnerships

- To promote the sector throughout the year turning away from its seasonal focus

Activities and implementation:

(Please give details on the implementation of the intervention)

The plan includes 28 measures but it does not specify how they will be implemented.

Social partner involvement

 

Type of social partner involvement:

(Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership? – cf. qu. 1)

Tripartite

Level of involvement of social partners involvement:

European, National, regional, local

Sectoral

National and sectoral

Specific form of social partner involvement:

(tripartite standing or ad hoc committee, high-level group, hearing, consultation, conferences, etc.? – cf. qu. 2)

Consultation

Timing and nature of social partner involvement:

(Please provide more details on the processes that social partners were involved in, their input, the timing, etc.)

Information not available

Impact of social partner involvement on design and implementation of instrument:

(Please describe how/if the design and/or implementation was affected through the involvement of social partners)

According to the Ministry of Industry, the social partners were involved in the policy preparation to some extent. Within the different phases of policy preparation, the plan was sent to the social partners. At the same time, they were invited to submit proposals. However, the plan does not state how the proposals sent by the social partners were taken into consideration.

Other stakeholders involved, if any:

(please name stakeholders and briefly describe their roles)

Autonomous Communities’ governments, other Ministries,

Results and outcomes

At this time no evaluation of results and outcomes has been undertaken.

Outputs/results:

(Please give details of the outputs/results of the intervention; e.g number of jobs created/retained, number of workers upskilled; wage increases, investment increases, increased co-operation between social partners, etc.)

Information not available

Assessment of effectiveness:

(Please provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention - were the objectives reached? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

Information not available

Possible explanations for the effectiveness of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of effectiveness achieved, including the contribution of the social partner involvement; e.g. improved bargaining process? Increased dynamism in the policy process? Other explanations?)

Information not available

Assessment of efficiency:

Did the outputs/results measure up to the effort/resources invested? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

Information not available

Possible explanations for the efficiency of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of efficiency, including the contribution of the social partner involvement)

Information not available

Pablo Sanz de Miguel, NOTUS

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