Workers are represented by labor unions. At company level, workers are represented by directly-elected representatives (workers’ delegates or works committees, which may or may not belong to a union) and by labor union representatives (workplace union branches and union delegates representing a labor union at the company).
Employers are not obliged to have workers’ representatives if workers have not requested union elections. However, if requested by the workers, employers are obliged to allow union elections and appoint such representatives on the terms provided by law.
In general, the function of directly-elected workers’ and labor union representatives is to receive certain information specified in the Workers’ Statute in order to monitor compliance with labor legislation. They are entitled to participate in negotiations prior to the execution of collective procedures (such as material changes to working conditions, collective layoffs, etc.) and to request the issue of reports prior to full or partial relocation of facilities, mergers or any other modification to the legal status of the company, among others.
In addition, unions (within a company) or directly-elected workers’ or labor union representatives can negotiate collective labor agreements with the employers’ association (in the first case) or with the company (in the second case).
Collective labor agreements are agreements executed between the workers’ representatives and the employers’ representatives to regulate working conditions and terms of employment and are binding on the parties.