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Monday, May 23, 2022
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From the “German affair” to Diaz: the benefits of having employees join the board

Labor and Social Economy Minister Yolanda Diaz monopolized parts of the political arena this week with her proposals. In addition to announcing his intention to promote a new Workers Statute, he also plans to negotiate an Institutional Participation Law to regulate and reward the activities of social agents, especially trade unions. The Vice President used Labor Day May 1 demonstrations to expose next steps, with a trick up your sleeve. He waited for data on employment and social security to go into more detail about the purpose of the regulation: to legislate the presence of workers on company boards.

While this announcement has generated controversy in the business community, it has been in place for decades. almost twenty countries. In Europe, the most telling example can be found in Germany, where it has been operating for almost five decades through the joint business management mechanism, which is used in organizations with more than 2000 employees. In this case, it is the employees who elect some of the members of the supervisory or supervisory board. does not have the right to make decisions in senior managementbut which has some influence on certain decisions and serves as an organ information access control, says Bernardo Pérez-Navas, partner in Garrigues’ labor department. But it is also a widely used formula in Norway, Finland, Sweden or the Netherlands. Despite this, at the national level, this is a complex issue, the “core” of which lies in the peculiarities of the relationship between agents representing the Spanish labor market and companies.

Traditionally, the relationship between trade unions and business in this country has been based on “mutual distrust” this makes it difficult to make decisions and in relations with which a constant atmosphere of “conflict” prevails, Ana Gomez, president of the Spanish National Workers Association (ASNALA), tells La Información. In his opinion, the active role of these agents in the decision-making bodies of companies is possible in a scenario where social agents show empathy and understanding the organization’s needs so they can retain jobs and “strive for better performance.” “The labor market is not yet ripe for an aggressive initiative like this,” he adds.

Sandalio Gómez, IESE Professor Emeritus, goes even further and assures that the main difference from Germany, is to “politicize” Spanish trade unions “which make it difficult” for them to get on the boards of directors. In this sense, he also refers to factors such as the low degree of affiliation, which has been steadily falling in recent years. Of the 20 million workers in Spain, just under two million are registered with UGT and CCOO, the most representative nationally. This situation makes their financial independence impossible, unlike the Germans, who They are much stronger financially.. “Now is not the right time for either training or culture to propose this kind of initiative, because a certain level of professionalization of the union is needed,” he notes.

According to the experts interviewed, if this barrier is overcome and implemented in Spain, this measure will help managers learn first-hand about the problems template and have knowledge closest to the company’s situation at any given time, which would allow for “actions that benefit the company as a whole,” said Juan Tomás Rodríguez Arano, professor of corporate law at the University of Navarra. In this sense, he ensures that their inclusion on committees management in Germany made it possible In crisis cases, reduce production and spread the cost savings to all staff by reducing working hours equally for all staff in the company.

From the work they know that emulating the German model can be almost a chimera in Spain, the idea they are piloting is based on the development of the article. 129.2 of the Spanish Constitution., which states that “public authorities will effectively promote various forms of participation in companies and will promote, through appropriate legislation, cooperative societies. They will also create means to facilitate workers’ access to ownership of the means of production. Thus, this approach is already included in the Magna Carta and in the Workers’ Statute through Article 4, which treats labor participation in a company as a fundamental right.

Whether the minister can realize this goal, for which she cites the public Navantia case as a reference in Spain, she opened the debate at a tense moment between trade unions and company representatives, after breaking down material matching table salary in which the lease was concluded. A situation that complicates the roadmap of issues already on the table and postpones those that are still up in the air.


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