Oscar Molina

Beyond de-centralization: The erosion of collective bargaining in Spain during the Great Recession

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Social partners in Spain have since the early 1980s worked to consolidate strong collective coordination capacities. Particularly important in this regard have been the efforts since the mid-1990s to strengthen collective bargaining at sectoral level to consolidate a top-down mechanism of organized de-centralization. Peak bipartite agreements on collective bargaining, conflict resolution and lifelong learning have also contributed to these goals. The article first of all shows the difficulties to develop autonomous coordination mechanisms in a context of significant statutory regulation of industrial relations and permanent threat of unilateral state regulation. Moreover, it is also argues how in the case of Spain, the state does not only supplement the coordination deficit of social partners but very often substitutes them. The reform trajectory since the 1990s is accordingly characterized by the lack of institutionalized social dialogue and hence the discretionary intervention of the state in critical junctures as developments in the Great Recession shows. Social partners, in a Sisyphus like process, have to rebuild their self-regulatory capacities and adapt to the new framework imposed by the state.


  • Labor Economics Policies
  • Working Conditions
  • Collective Bargaining


Article first page

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