Marc van der Meer
Trade Union Development in Spain. Past Legacies and Current Trends

Arbeitsbereich I; 18
ISSN: 0948-0072

This paper provides an overview over the historical development of the Spanish labour movement from 1870 to 1995. The Appendix presents comprehensive data on union membership, density rates, works council elections, and mobilising capacities of Spanish unions. The rise of union organisation in Spain was hesitant and uneven. Under the long Franc-Dictatorship free trade unions were suppressed, though since the 1950s semi-clandestine trade unions emerged on a local or regional basis, partly in fusion with works councils. Since 1975 a new and complex pattern of trade union organisation emerged, fostered by the democratic legislation. The paper provides union membership data from 1981 until 1995 which recently became available from CC.OO, UGT, ELA.STV, USO and CSI-CSIF. The author also develops a hurdle model to enhance the theoretical debate on the current situation of the Spanish union movement. The model helps to understand the current low - though increasing - membership record of Spanish unions, given the structural dilemma they face in the labour market.