The conclusion of the inter-sectoral Framework Agreement on Telework is a significant innovation in European policy-making reflecting a shift towards greater autonomy of organised management and labour; both sides of industry are invited to proactively engage in the implementation as well as follow-up of European framework agreements at different levels of bargaining. Building on workplace level telework arrangements, the paper discusses the role of trade unions in implementing the Telework Agreement in Spain and the UK and provides a preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of its autonomous character. Analysis is structured around two sets of factors; institutional (impact of industrial relations traditions) and societal influences (how the topic of the European agreement is situated within different societal contexts). It is argued that differences in the significance attributed to teleworking have shaped unions' perceptions and policies on both the form of implementation and practical application at lower levels, while the impact of institutions seems to be greater on substantive issues. Overall, despite their soft character, autonomous agreements represent agreements with potential. Although not enforceable in court, they can operate as good practice guides while their European origin may act as an informal element of legality when they reach a Tribunal. However, without active local union involvement the protections they offer can be largely symbolic.