New features of RDL 2/2024 on labour and social protection (Part I)

Impacto del Real Decreto-ley 2/2024

Prevalence of the Autonomous Community Collective Bargaining Agreement: Keys to Royal Decree-Law 2/2024

Article 1 of Royal Decree-Law 2/2024 of 21 May amends Article 84.3 of the Workers’ Statute, allowing trade unions and employers’ associations in an autonomous community to negotiate collective agreements and interprofessional agreements with priority over any sectoral agreement or state agreement. This change is significant for collective bargaining in Spain and has important implications for workers and employers.

Historical and Current Impact of the Labour Reform

This provision, which was already in force briefly during RDL 7/2023 and after the 1994 labour reform, did not have a notable impact on the collective bargaining landscape at the time. However, the current amendment requires that regional agreements and agreements must be supported by the necessary majorities to form the negotiating committee in the corresponding bargaining unit. Moreover, these agreements will only be given priority if they offer a more favourable regulation for workers compared to state agreements. The assessment of this greater favourability will be made on the specific regulation contained in the agreement, which may require detailed comparisons by institutions or thematic blocks.

Priority of regional and provincial agreements

The priority of regional agreements may also apply to provincial agreements, provided that a regional agreement or convention so provides. This provision contrasts with the tendency in recent decades to limit the provincial level in collective bargaining, a practice that has been criticised by governments and state representatives.

Subjects Excluded from Bargaining

In these cases, the matters that cannot be negotiated are maintained, such as the probationary period, hiring modalities, professional classification, maximum annual working hours, disciplinary regime, minimum standards on occupational risk prevention and geographic mobility.

Implications for Industrial Relations

The change introduced by Royal Decree-Law 2/2024 gives the regional level a greater role in collective bargaining, with the aim of promoting labour relations in this area. This modification could alter the current dynamics by allowing regional agreements to take precedence over national agreements and, in the absence of regional agreements, provincial agreements over national agreements.

The prevalence of the regional collective agreement, according to Royal Decree-Law 2/2024, represents a significant change in the structure of collective bargaining in Spain. This change could have a considerable impact on industrial relations, giving more power and flexibility to the autonomous communities and potentially improving working conditions for workers at regional level.

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