The session started with Daniel Cifuentes explaining the current trends in the labour law sector. Among other issues, Cifuentes touched upon the type of “labour counter-reform” that will likely be implemented in the coming months. He also made an initial assessment of the registering of worked hours, which has been in force for six months, as well as the protocols of large companies in this area and the digital disconnection of workers. He also briefly analysed issues such as the increase in penalties for gender discrimination, the impetus that the Constitutional Court has placed on the submission of cases to the European Court of Justice by Spain’s courts and the progressive and unstoppable introduction of technology and artificial intelligence into the world of work.
Cifuentes went on to summarise the twenty most relevant judgments handed down by the Spanish and European courts on various matters and delved into the three most important judgments in the Labour practice in recent months. Firstly, he discussed the Supreme Court ruling of 19 November 2019 related to the calculation of substantial changes in working conditions and the thresholds for such changes being considered collective. More specifically, Cifuentes explored how this applies to the company rather than the individual workplace, since, unlike dismissal, there is no European directive that regulates it.
Secondly, Cifuentes highlighted the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the installation of cameras without prior notice in the workplace. This ruling revokes the requirement for workers to be informed of the installation of such cameras, as this can be circumvented in cases where there is a reasonable suspicion of serious breaches by workers.
Finally, the partner referred to the ruling of the National Court of Justice on 29 October 2019, which dismissed the lawsuit filed by the UGT regarding an agreement signed between the CCOO and the companies of the Zurich group, on the grounds that it represented a modification of the collective agreement on working hours. The magistrates consider this to be an agreement of overall effectiveness, signed between the management of the companies and the majority trade union body, which does not modify the regulation of the timetabling system but instead is limited to establishing a system for recording working hours. This cannot be used as an element of corporate control.
Laura Pérez and Isabel Moya closed the day with an analysis of the future outlook for modifications that may occur in labour legislation with the “labour counter-reform” agreed by the new coalition government. Firstly, they made a brief assessment of the two possible speeds of such a counter-reform, one more immediate without negotiation or agreement between the social agents, and the other more distant in time, based on a pact between trade unions and employers.
Among the main issues discussed were the repealing of dismissal due to absenteeism, the modification of Article 42.1 of the Workers’ Statute on hiring and subcontracting (in general, they conveyed the idea that only certain limitations would be introduced, especially in favour of salary and contractual equality) and the potential changes with regard to hiring, both partial and formative, as well as the fight against labour fraud, especially with regard to matters outside the workplace.
Here, the partners stressed that although it is still too early to know precisely what changes the alleged counter-reform will bring to labour legislation in the coming months, the above issues will undoubtedly form the basis of it.