Almost six months after signing, the Official State Gazette (BOE) has published this Saturday the collective agreement for women’s football, the first in a European league. The provision implies that all Primera Iberdrola teams must be included in the text, and not only those belonging to the Association of Clubs –all of the Primera, except Barça, Athletic and Real Madrid–, one of the parties that signed the agreement with the unions AFE, Futbolistas On and UGT. In other words, with the publication, the text is no longer a private contract between the signatories and applies to all members of the highest category of Spanish women’s football.
The road up to here has been at least tortuous. The way of the cross began on October 4, 2018 with a first meeting between the parties and has lasted a year, ten months and 12 days until the entry into the BOE of the historic agreement. As an allegory of the difficulty, a fact: the agreement, which was signed on February 19 and presented with all the pomp that same day in the Congress of Deputies, is published in the Bulletin already extended, with its first year of validity completed last June. “I don’t think it is very common,” says Rubén Alcaine, president of the club’s employers’ association, aware of the crises and traffic jams that have been overcome in negotiations.
The agreement, among other things, establishes a minimum of 16,000 euros full-time and 12,000 euros part-time for female footballers and is extendable ad infinitum as long as there is no complaint from any of the parties or they feel motu proprio looking for a new deal. The working conditions established in the text will change the lives of many players, in the opinion of Tania Tabanera, AFE women’s football delegate and part of the union’s negotiating team: “It will do so at the salary level and at the insurance and insurance level. social coverage. Until now there were colleagues who with 35 and 36 years retired without having the right to unemployment because they had not contributed. That is already regulated and they have minimums. Breaking that barrier is important. “
The last obstacle overcome, which left the agreement in rest for almost half a year, was the drafting of the second additional provision. This clause caused a last-minute withdrawal in February, that of the UGT, which challenged and did not sign the text because the established protocol left the union without the possibility of participating in future negotiations. The agreement also defined de facto the agreement as a sectorial band –for a specific professional category–, but these texts only have a place in the specific field of companies and not of sectors, explain from the Ministry of Labor. After the mediation of the General Directorate of this department, which met and exchanged documents with the parties throughout July to refine the wording, UGT has joined the pact, finally published in the BOE this Saturday, August 15, a month that is usually non-working in labor matters but that this year has been arranged by the pandemic.
The almost two years that the negotiations have lasted had a critical point: a strike that paralyzed the league on November 16 and 17, on the seventh day of the competition. She achieved an absolute following, and only one player, Maddi Torre, from Real Sociedad, attended the stadium. “It was a turning point. Things were very stuck and the strike unblocked the negotiations, ”recalls Tabanera. Despite subsequent difficulties, mainly on account of the amount the clubs would pay for a part-time contract, an agreement was reached before Christmas. In February, after clearing up another mess about the money that the teams would receive for the television rights, the signing was given free rein, which arrived on the 19th. “I don’t remember any other agreement that has cost so much. Until today we had not managed to get it published. It’s almost two years, it’s outrageous ”, says Tamara Ramos, manager of Futbolistas On.
The controversial compensation list
With the published agreement – it also protects soccer players in the event of pregnancy or incapacity for work – the unions emphasize the next steps: ending the 75% partiality, improving salary conditions and modulating the clause that governs the controversial list compensation, which establishes the amounts that a Spanish club – foreigners are excluded – must pay to another for the training rights of under-23 athletes who end their contract and which has put several players on the warpath due to the exaggerated requests of money from some clubs. “The minimum wage that is set [16.000 euros a tiempo completo, cuando el salario mínimo interprofesional en España es de 13.300 euros al año] it is scarce. What is desirable is that progress be made, ”says José María García, from UGT.
A speech that resembles that of Tamara Ramos: “We are talking about minimum rights, about girls who live dedicated and work to get a salary of 12,000 euros. It is not to get medals ”. The president of the employer association – who estimates that less than 30% of First-class players are at 12,000 euros per year – also knows that partiality is going to be one of the issues on the table in the next negotiations: “We are for the labor, but as long as there are necessary resources. We have defended that it be a competition capable of maintaining itself and continuing to grow, not that it be permanently supported by men’s clubs ”.
With the start of the league on the horizon – it starts next September 5 with the spur of the arrival of Real Madrid – the desire of the unions and the employers is also that the pandemic, if the epidemiological situation worsens, will not put the competition on hold, as it happened in May, unlike in men’s football, which could finish the tournament between June and July. “It is defending equal rights,” says Tabanera.