The court ruling dated 30 May 2023 and recently published underscores the invalidity of unilateral agreements, exemplified by the case of Peugeot Citroën imposing remote work conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic without involving the Central Unitaria de Traballadores/as (CUT) union.

In December 2020, Peugeot Citroën unilaterally introduced remote work for its workforce through individual adhesion agreements, excluding the CUT union from the negotiation process. The court’s decision emphasizes that such an approach infringes upon the constitutional right to freedom of association and limits employees’ ability to participate in individual negotiations.

The court recognized that remote work significantly impacts crucial aspects of employment, such as working hours and equipment provisions. While Peugeot Citroën argued that the annual salary already accounted for the remote work situation, they unilaterally provided an additional annual economic support of 120 euros, disregarding negotiation with the unions.

The court held that unilateral agreements undermine both collective and individual negotiations pertaining to remote work conditions, thereby infringing upon the freedom of association and the work-life balance rights of employees. Additionally, Peugeot Citroën breached regulations by failing to adhere to the ten-day legal deadline for sharing copies of remote work agreements.

The court concluded that Peugeot Citroën violated the freedom of association in relation to the right to collective bargaining. Consequently, the individual remote work agreement is deemed null and void, and the company is directed to provide a compensation of 30,000 euros to the CUT union.

Reference: STSJ GAL 3840/2023 - ECLI:ES:TSJGAL:2023:3840.