The Court held that Spain failed to adopt the necessary measures to transpose the Directive 2002/14/CE, establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community.
This Directive applies, according to the choice made by Member States, to: (a) undertakings employing at least 50 employees in any one Member State, or (b) establishments employing at least 20 employees in any one Member State. It provides that information and consultation shall cover: (a) information on the recent and probable development of the undertaking's or the establishment's activities and economic situation; (b) information and consultation on the situation, structure and probable development of employment within the undertaking or establishment and on any anticipatory measures envisaged, in particular where there is a threat to employment; (c) information and consultation on decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation or in contractual relations. Likewise, consultation shall take place: (a) while ensuring that the timing, method and content thereof are appropriate; (b) at the relevant level of management and representation, depending on the subject under discussion; (c) on the basis of information supplied by the employer and of the opinion which the employees' representatives are entitled to formulate; (d) in such a way as to enable employees' representatives to meet the employer and obtain a response, and the reasons for that response, to any opinion they might formulate; (e) with a view to reaching an agreement on decisions within the scope of the employer's powers.
Since the Directive is now directly applicable in Spain, companies will have to ensure that they comply with the obligations provided therein when the aforementioned situations arise. Otherwise, they will be liable for ‘serious infringement’ of labour law with resulting economical sanctions of between €626 and €6,250.