Employee Representatives in Spain. Which are the Perceptions and Expectations by Employers?

TitleEmployee Representatives in Spain. Which are the Perceptions and Expectations by Employers?
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
EditorEuwema, Martin, Munduate, Lourdes, Elgoibar, Patricia, Pender, Erica, and García, Ana Belén
Book TitlePromoting Social Dialogue in European Organizations
Pagination147 - 162
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
CityNew York
Keywordsconflict, dialogue, industrial relations, negotiation, Spain, trade unions, trust

Spain has a tradition of a particularly competitive industrial relations climate. The country’s current financial crisis and economic recession have triggered a period of unprecedented reforms in the labor market, employment policies and the structure of the collective bargaining. The change towards a decentralized system of industrial relations have placed employee representatives as key parts at the organizational level, with an important role in social innovation and to promote the competitiveness of the organization. Drawing on the results from interviews and a survey among Spanish HR managers we observe that the economic recession has underpinned the large opposition in social relationships. Employee representatives and managers perceive and behave as two opposed groups, subject to high levels of conflict. However, building a constructive social dialogue ties up with the expressed will by Spanish managers to work with competent counterparts at the negotiation table, partners who have a strategic vision of the dynamics of the organization and with whom they can work vis-à-vis through transparency. They point out that empowering employee representatives so that they can achieve these competencies, together with the professionalization of their role, are further challenges for social agents.