Unions insist that it is time to stimulate domestic demand with higher wages. Meanwhile, employers insist that job security needs competitive salaries.
The agreement could see salaries increase by 1.0 percent this year (the employers’ union was aiming for 0.5; unions asked for 1.5 per cent) and 1.5 percent in 2016.
Some companies will not reach that increase, others will exceed it. In any event, social harmony is a reality and labour strikes are at historic lows.
One of the crucial sectors for economic recovery in Spain is the car industry (17% of exports), with a dozen assembly plants which are amongst the most competitive of their respective brands. A key factor to its success, as factory managers point out, is the agreements with unions. These have contributed to productivity and competitiveness both before and after the labor reform.