labour law

   Labour law was consolidated as a legal system in Spain during the period of Primo de Rivera's Dictatorship (1923–9) and the Second Republic (1931–6). The constitution of the Second Republic (1931) provided the foundation for a systematic approach to labour law by enshrining the basic principles of free association and the right to organize trade unions, and adopted a progressive approach to certain economic and social rights. In the spirit of this constitution, two important pieces of legislation were enacted in 1931: the Ley de Contrato de Trabajo (Employment Contract Act), and the Ley de Jornada Máxima Legal (Maximum Legal Working Hours Act). During the Civil War and the Franco regime further amendments to the labour legislation were approved, especially with regard to social security, working hours, holiday entitlement and employment contracts. However, the most significant amendments to labour legislation occurred after Franco's death, as a result of the political and social reforms introduced during the transition to democracy. The 1931 Ley de Contrato de Trabajo was supplemented by two Industrial Relations Acts: the Ley de Relaciones Laborales (Law of Labour Relations) of 1976, and the Real Decreto-Ley de Relaciones de Trabajo (Royal Decree on Labour Relations) of 1977, which attempted to establish the legal framework for labour disputes and strikes. Like-wise, the Ley Reguladora del Derecho de Asociación Sindical (Trade Union Rights Act) of 1977 provided for a restructuring of the trade unions system.
   The constitution of 1978 laid down the principles of a new legal framework for industrial relations, by ratifying the right to full employment, social security, professional training and promotion, health and hygiene at work, paid holidays and the participation of employees in the company. The constitution also protects the right to join a union, to strike, to enter into collective agreements, to earn a minimum wage and, lastly, to exercise professional freedom. These provisions, together with Spain's membership of the EU, have produced a set of regulations which control all aspects of legalindustrial relations, and which are embodied in the following acts: the Estatuto de los Trabajadores (Workers" Statute, 1995); the Ley Orgánica de Libertad Sindical (Law of Trade Union Freedom, 1985, which regulates the organization and structure of trade unions); the Ley de Procedimiento Laboral (Law of Labour Procedure, 1995, which regulates requirements and procedures in industrial matters); the Ley de la Seguridad Social (Law of Social Security, 1994); and two very innovative laws, the Ley de Prevención de Accidentes Laborales (Law for the Prevention of Accidents at Work, 1995) and the Ley de Empresas de Trabajo Temporal (Law for the Regulation of Temporary Work Agencies, 1994). In addition, the Constitutional Tribunal has fulfilled an important role in revising the existing labour law to bring it into line with constitutional guarantees on fundamental rights.
   Further reading
   - de Miguel, A. (1994) La Sociedad Española, 199394. Informe Sociológico de la Universidad Complutense, Madrid: Alianza Editorial (see pp. 623–75 for a sociological study of the structure of labour, membership of trade unions, working hours, work conditions and attitudes to work).
   - Heywood, P. (1995) The Government and Politics of Spain, London: Macmillan (chapters 10 and 11 give an excellent overview of the current state of the labour market).
   - Montoya Melgar, A. (ed.) (1995) Enciclopedia Jurídica Básica, Madrid: Editorial Civitas (volume 2 contains ample information about the Spanish legal system, covering aspects such as: labour law, working hours, retirement, National Insurance, employment and workers" right to strike).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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