MADRID, March 27 Telefonica has reached
an agreement with workers in Spain to guarantee jobs and
increase salaries until at least 2014 in exchange for suspending
company contributions to staff pensions for 15 months, labour
Workers will be safe in their jobs until 2014 and salaries
will rise 1 percent this year and next, in line with a previous
agreement, unions said on Wednesday. They added that the deal
could be extended until 2015.
There was no word on how much Telefonica might save from the
pension measure and the company declined to comment on the
Spain's unemployment rate has reached 26 percent in a deep
economic crisis and the country's biggest companies continue to
lay off staff to cut costs. Lender Caixabank said on
Wednesday that it plans to lay off 2,600 workers, while
loss-making airline Iberia is to axe 3,141 workers and
"(The Telefonica deal) breaks the trend both in the sector
and the country, with companies totally unwilling to risk salary
increases or make medium-term promises, which highlights how
positive this agreement is," the CCOO and UGT unions said in a
The agreement also saves staff from earlier Telefonica
proposals to reduce summer and Christmas bonus payments and cut
back the number of personal days employees are allowed to take
off, the unions said.
Telefonica said in 2011 that it would lay off 6,500 workers
in its home market over three years. The company's revenues
dropped 13 percent in 2012 as cash-strapped consumers ditched
their mobiles or switched to budget operators.
Rival Vodafone, also facing falling earnings in the
recession-hit economy, has said that it will lay off 620 workers
In a country where labour negotiations can drag on for
months, the Telefonica agreement was thrashed out with the
unions in less than three weeks.