Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture

By Eamonn Rodgers; Valerie Rodgers | Go to book overview

as shipyards and steel mills found themselves with few orders and households stopped replacing electrodomestic consumer goods. Forced eventually to take remedial action, the centre-right UCD government and its successor the socialist PSOE administration implemented a policy of so-called industrial reconversion (reconversión industrial) in the 1980s which applied compulsorily to public sector companies and voluntarily to the private sector. Essentially the policy was one of a temporary propping up to enable companies to shed labour, modernize and become more competitive. Much of the government aid went in providing for early retirements and redundancy compensation as well as to write off losses, but some aid was also channelled into more positive aspects such as research and development, re-equipment, and rationalization through mergers. Just how effective the industrial reconversion programme was in saving great swathes of Spanish industry from total collapse remains a matter of debate. Ultimately the real saviour was to be foreign investment as Spain’s long-drawn out negotiations to join the EC concluded in agreement. But it would be fair to say that with about a million jobs shed between 1975 and 1985, and with new foreign markets having been found to make up for sluggish demand at home, Spanish industry emerged from the ten-year crisis leaner, fitter and more competitive. The price paid for the lop-sided industrial development of the 1960s had been heavy—poor competitiveness leading to loss of jobs and import penetration in an increasingly liberalized international trading system—but in any case the fortunes of Spanish industry were finally and inevitably to be dominated by European circumstances.


Further reading

h
Harrison, J. (1993) The Spanish Economy. From the Civil War to the European Community, London: Macmillan (chapters 2 and 5 offer a good summary).

s
Salmon, K. (1995) The Modern Spanish Economy. Transformation and Integration into Europe, London: Pinter (chapters 1 and 6 provide excellent syntheses).

C.A.LONGHURST


industrial relations

The Franco regime prohibited trade unions, establishing instead the so-called ‘vertical syndicates’ (sindicatos verticales), which, purporting to make class conflict irrelevant, grouped workers, managers and employers together on an industry by industry basis. The law on collective agreements of 1958 allowed collective bargaining on wage settlements in individual enterprises, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s, specifically industrial demands for improvements in earnings and conditions of work were frequently inseparable from politically motivated aspirations for greater democracy in trade union organization and in the political system as a whole.

The restoration of democracy after the death of Franco saw a sharp rise in trade union activity and membership. The consultation between government and unions which produced the Moncloa Pacts established a precedent for partnership in tackling the serious problems of inflation and balance of payments deficits, and led to a series of wage agreements in the years up to 1986. Little was done, however, to tackle the high rates of unemployment, and relations between government and unions deteriorated to the point where the whole country was brought to a standstill by a very successful general strike in December 1987.

This gave the unions considerable power in the early 1990s: for example, an agreement for an extra 400,000m pesetas for pensions was concluded on 25 January 1990. By that time, however, the initial surge of enthusiasm for union membership had fallen off. From 58 percent of salaried workers in 1978, active membership had fallen to 10 percent by 1994 (compared to 40 percent in Britain and over 80 percent in Sweden). The effect of this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that voting in union elections is open to non-members, but overall the result has been a substantial weakening of union power. This has enabled both PSOE and PP governments to press ahead with deregulation

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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction x
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • Structure xiii
  • Architecture xiv
  • A 1
  • Further Reading 7
  • Further Reading 11
  • Further Reading 29
  • Further Reading 37
  • Further Reading 41
  • B 44
  • Further Reading 47
  • Further Reading 65
  • C 70
  • Further Reading 81
  • Further Reading 93
  • Further Reading 100
  • Further Reading 113
  • Further Reading 128
  • D 135
  • Further Reading 136
  • Further Reading 140
  • E 152
  • Further Reading 155
  • Further Reading 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • F 173
  • Further Reading 185
  • Further Reading 206
  • G 213
  • Further Reading 227
  • Further Reading 229
  • Further Reading 231
  • Further Reading 242
  • H 245
  • I 261
  • Further Reading 266
  • J 276
  • Further Reading 280
  • K 283
  • L 285
  • Further Reading 292
  • M 313
  • Further Reading 332
  • Further Reading 335
  • N 359
  • Further Reading 362
  • Further Reading 365
  • O 376
  • P 384
  • Further Reading 429
  • Q 430
  • R 433
  • Further Reading 435
  • Further Reading 436
  • Further Reading 439
  • Further Reading 443
  • References 452
  • S 464
  • Further Reading 471
  • Further Reading 475
  • T 502
  • Further Reading 508
  • Further Reading 509
  • U 526
  • Further Reading 536
  • V 537
  • Further Reading 538
  • Further Reading 539
  • Further Reading 544
  • W 545
  • X 550
  • Y 552
  • Further Reading 553
  • Z 554
  • Index 557
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