Big Four’s big demands on Spanish employees

Big Four's big demands on Spanish employees

MADRID: PwC consultancy located in the capital’s business district Photo credit: CC/Luis Rogelio HM

EMPLOYEES at the Big Four consultancies have worked “marathon hours” in Spain.

A Ministry of Labour investigation into practices and working conditions at Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst and Young (EY) and KPMG, which began in November 2022 resulted in fines totalling a minimum of €1.4 million.

Officials probed whether employees worked longer hours than records showed, as none of the companies had the clocking on and clocking off facilities that are legally required since 2019.

Twelve-hour working days were usual at PwC in Madrid, former employee Sergio Padilla told Euronews.  Padilla – a fictitious name to protect his identity – was expected to work from 9am until 9 pm although he regarded this as normal as his colleagues were in the same situation.

The consultancy sector in Spain suffers from “major workforce fatigue”, according to Raul de la Torre, an official from the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) trade union.

Some months ago, companies had attempted to impose agreements to work up to 12 hours a day from Monday to Saturday, without any additional compensation.

Working conditions had worsened since 2008 although companies have reported record profits, with the Big Four making €2.5 billion during 2021 according to the financial daily, Expansion.

Meanwhile, new employees, mainly new graduates with no work experience, were earning an annual €14,000 gross in 2021, the union official said.

After months of negotiations and strikes, they reached an agreement to pay graduate workers  up to €15,300 with employees with three years’ experience receiving a minimum of €17,100.

The ‘Big Four’ offices were raided in November 2022 after the Labour Ministry, headed by Yolanda Díaz, launched an investigation although no official complaint had been lodged with the authorities.

“Inspectors detected practices that they considered may be outside the scope of labour laws through the press or social media, and acted,” sources from the Ministry told Euronews.

Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG have all been approached for their comments, Euronews added.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at