The scope of provincial metallurgical industry agreements includes a large number of economic activities. There are a total of 50 provincial sectoral collective agreements, which affect about 90% of workers. This collective agreement is the document that sets out industrial relations rights and obligations. Collective agreements operate at the same level as normal laws. Provincial metallurgical industry agreements are generally intended to define the basic system of productivity premium systems, but have generally not made significant changes to the ratio of fixed and variable wages. One possible outcome of this change is that the coverage of collective bargaining may decrease. Until recently, it was relatively high. Based on the aforementioned figures of the Ministry of Labour for 2010 (5,067 collective agreements of 10,794,334 employees) and 15.35 million employees, the collective agreement was 70% in 2010. However, the figures for 2010 are slightly lower than the previous two years – in 2008, a total of 5,987 contracts were signed for a record 11,968,100 employees. So far, there have been legislative changes recently (see below) – in the fact that large and medium-sized enterprises have their own agreements, sometimes at the corporate level, while small employers were covered by provincial contracts for their sector.
The government also has the power to extend collective agreements in areas where no negotiations have taken place. Although these powers were strengthened in 2005, they are now very rarely used. Thus, no agreement was renewed in 2010.3 The collective agreement covers the entire banking sector. The length of time agreements come into force after the agreements have officially expired is affected by recent legislative changes. It is now limited to one year, after which the agreement will apply at a higher level. Banking unions have always called for companies to negotiate voluntary compensation unilaterally because they understand that there is room for wage bargaining at the enterprise level. In any event, these wage improvements should serve as an incentive for workers and should not be used to replace or “absorb” the improvements resulting from the sector agreement. During the report, we presented the main trends of wage flexibility in collective bargaining in Spain. First, the wage policy of companies tends to introduce the variable component in the structure of fixed wages, usually through personal wage supplements to agreed base wages. Secondly, at the initiative of companies, variable remuneration systems are introduced through individual negotiations with employees and enterprise agreements that are not covered by official statistics, reflecting a growing decentralisation of collective bargaining.