Nevertheless, a recent Supreme Court decision (264/2014) overturned the reform of the ultra-activity principle. The Supreme Court ratified the decision of the Balearic Islands courts in the ATESE case, in which the unions brought the company to court for its decision to reduce wages after the collective agreement is no longer in force (one year after its completion). The Supreme Court argued that the working conditions agreed in a collective agreement have a contractual status and must be applied even when collective bargaining is completed, which null anded the reform of the principle of ultra-activity. The 2012 labour market reform reduced the importance of these collective agreements. It is now possible to end these collective agreements by giving priority to enterprise agreements. In case of economic or technical difficulties related to the organisation or production, the company may waive the working conditions set by the collective agreement or by the companies applicable for all aspects related to working time, working time, the allocation of the allowance in Spain, the concept of representativeness guarantees erga omnes representation for both trade unions and employers` organisations. The most representative trade union and employers` organisations are thus able to negotiate agreements on behalf of all workers in the sector or the company where the agreement is negotiated. One of the main problems faced by companies, particularly foreign companies wishing to establish themselves in Spain and recruit staff, is the identification of the existing collective agreement. The table below contains information on the number of collective disputes resolved through judicial mechanisms and on the mechanisms for resolving disputes before the courts. We can see that with the economic recovery, the number of conflicts resolved by judicial or extrajudicial mechanisms has decreased sharply.
In 2012, the People`s Party reformed this mechanism as part of a major reform of Spain`s labour market legislation (Law 3/2012). It has given priority to enterprise-level agreements over multi-pro-lease sector agreements (national, regional or provincial) on issues such as base pay and wage increases, even if the social partners decide to set up another collective bargaining structure. An interesting initiative of the social partners is the Observatory of Policies and Equality Plans in the framework of collective bargaining, an organization created by the General Union of Workers (UGT) and funded by the European Social Fund and the Women`s Institute. It publishes reports that analyze how equality is addressed in collective bargaining and equality plans. The last report was in 2013. The national agreements deal with non-wage issues, such as employment contracts, training and equality, and have set general guidelines for wage increases every year, except in 2009, since 2002. Agreements at a lower level generally cover wages and hours of work, often with a clause providing for additional payments when inflation exceeds an agreed level. They can also cover other topics such as training, job classification, illness, maternity schemes and health and safety, and since 2005 the number of employment contracts has increased sharply – in particular the rules to increase the proportion of permanent employees. The most important labour code for private workers is the status of workers` rights (1980). It also regulates collective bargaining issues (coordination mechanisms between different levels of tariff setting, opt-out clauses and conditions, etc.). It has been amended by various decrees and royal laws. The last act that changed important elements was Act 3/2012 of July 6.