This article discusses the effects of regulatory change in employees’ working conditions and the dynamics of collective bargaining in Spain, a model affected by a drastic regulatory change, and draws a comparison with the UK, the more deregulated and single‐employer bargaining model in Europe. The comparison is carried out using EU‐SILC panel data to identify commonalities and differences in the patterns of change in salaries and working hours. Second, national data from Spain are used to analyse the impacts of reforms on the characteristics and outputs of collective bargaining. The findings show that regulatory changes provoked a drastic adjustment in wages in Spain, following patterns similar to the British model. However, the results lead us to highlight the need to enhance knowledge about the dynamics of bargaining processes as they crucially reveal that these trends are happening in mostly unchanged institutional characteristics.