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Unions’ response to corporate restructuring in Telefónica: locked into collective bargaining?

Óscar Rodríguez-Ruiz (Business Administration Department, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the restructuring approach followed by the highly profitable Telefónica in its 2011 redundancy plan, and explores unions’ response to management strategy.


The research follows a case study approach constructing a dataset with information from company reports, committee records, union documents, press releases, and other available sources such as specialized journals and newspapers.


Specifically this case study tries to show how massive job cuts have been implemented through a labour-mediated downsizing strategy that mitigates contestation and industrial conflict.


The paper tackles the relevant question of how unions respond to corporate restructuring (involving downsizing) in countries where industrial relations institutions remain relatively strongly embedded and proactive.



This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


Rodríguez-Ruiz, Ó. (2015), "Unions’ response to corporate restructuring in Telefónica: locked into collective bargaining?", Employee Relations, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 83-101.



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