There are undoubtedly variations in the rights of workers from country to country, but the fundamental principle of the power of employers as a class is constant. This power is often implicit but also often is expressed more explicitly–even in collective agreements between employers and unions.
For example, the following is taken from the collective agreement for offices between the General Union of Workers (Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT)), the Workers’ Commissions (Comisiones Obreras (CCOO)), and the Madrid Business Confederation (la Confederación Empresarial de Madrid–CEOE) (CEIM)), dated January 1, 2019-December 31, 2021:
page 6 (my rough translation) (the original in Spanish is included afterwards):
Chapter 2–Organization of Work and Functions
Article 8: General Principles
- The practical organization of the work, subject to this collective agreement and the current social legislation in force, is the exclusive capacity of the management of the enterprise.
A further clause also expresses the power of the employer in relation to the employees (page 28):
Chapter 10–Code of Conduct
Article 44: Disciplinary Regime
- The capacity to impose discipline corresponds to the management of the enterprise or to persons delegated for that purpose.
Is this an expression of a democratic society? If democracy is a way of life and not just formal voting for political representatives, do such clauses in collective agreements (which are normally superior to non-unionized implicit employment contracts in terms of provisions for workers) express democracy? Or do they express dictatorship–a dictatorial way of life? See, for example, The Money Circuit of Capital or Employers as Dictators, Part One.
Is this a good example of what union reps mean by “free collective bargaining?” “Good contracts?” “Fair contracts?” “Decent work?” What do you think?
CAPITULO II – ORGANIZACIÓN DEL TRABAJO Y FUNCIONES
Art. 8º.- PRINCIPIOS GENERALES.
1. La organización práctica del trabajo, con sujeción a este Convenio Colectivo y a la
legislación social vigente, es facultad exclusiva de la Dirección de la Empresa.
CAPITULO X – CÓDIGO DE CONDUCTA
Art. 44º.- RÉGIMEN SANCIONADOR.
1. La facultad de imponer las sanciones corresponderá a la dirección de la empresa
o en las personas en quien delegue.