Collective Bargaining in the Renewed Spanish Labour Law: a New Tool for Economic Policy?


  • Miguel Rodríguez-Piñero Royo Universidad de Sevilla


Collective bargaining, Collective rights, Labour law reforms, Social dumping, Fundamental rights


As in any other advanced democratic State, collective bargaining plays a central role in Spanish labour relations. Latest labour law reforms during the world financial crises have substantially affected this institution, and rules governing collective bargaining have changed profoundly, coherently with the general objective to increase employers’ ability to change its contents and to avoid the so-called “rigidification” of working conditions. Its role is formaly more important, but an objective analysis of this new regulations and its impact on Spanish labour relations leads to a completely different conclusion. It has been converted into an instrument of economic policy, with weaker collective agreements, allowing a general wage devaluation. This experience shows the vulnerability of collective labour law to external pressures. The temptation of using instruments of social dumping can be strong, producing changes in collective labour law that impose a model of collective bargaining unbalanced towards management’s interests.

La negociación colectiva juega en España un papel central en las relaciones laborales. Las recientes reformas del Derecho del Trabajo han cambiado radicalmente esta institución, y su marco normativo ha cambiado en profundidad, de manera coherente con un objetivo general de favorecer la flexibilidad en las empresas y evitar la “rigidificación” de sus condiciones de trabajo. Formalmente, su papel se ha fortalecido, pero un análisis objetivo lleva a una conclusión completamente distinta. Se ha convertido en un instrumento de política económica, con convenios más débiles, que han conducido a una devaluación salarial. Esta experiencia demuestra la vulnerabilidad del derecho colectivo del trabajo a las presiones externas. Puede haber una fuerte tentación para el uso de instrumentos de dumping social, produciendo cambios en el Derecho colectivo que impognan un modelo de negociación colectiva desequilibrado en favor de los intereses empresariales.

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How to Cite

Rodríguez-Piñero Royo, M. (2017) “Collective Bargaining in the Renewed Spanish Labour Law: a New Tool for Economic Policy?”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 9(1), pp. 7–18. Available at: (Accessed: 12 July 2024).