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Title: Union Revitalization and the Election of Workers’ Representatives for Safety and Health in the Workplaces: are the Unions Winning the Challenge?
Authors: Alves, Paulo Marques
Poças, Luís
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Trade union movements in the advanced capitalist societies are dealing with a universal process of decline. They have been losing members, as well as social and political influence. Portugal followed this trend. Facing to the situation the unions are taking some actions in order to reverse it. Six major strategies of union revitalization were identified by Frege and Kelly (2003). Besides that, other reactions could be taken by the unions, mainly their engagement in the election of workers’ representatives for the safety and health at work. The Council Directive 89/391/EEC establishes that employers shall consult workers and their representatives concerning the issues related to safety and health at work and defines the figure of the workers’ representative. In Portugal, the social pact signed by all social partners in 1991 foresaw for the first time the election of these representatives, but that was not put in practice immediately due to the nonexistence of a legislative framework. Only the Labour Code that came into force in 2003 approved this figure in the Portuguese system of industrial relations. The first elections occurred in 2004. This paper, based on official data and interviews with trade union officials, intends to be a first contribute for the analysis of this process. Mainly, it seeks to answer to one question: are the unions winning this new challenge? From the data we may conclude that this is not happening, what can be explained by several factors that we will discuss, being some of them external to the unions although others are internal.
Peer reviewed: Sim
Appears in Collections:DINÂMIA'CET-CRI - Comunicação a conferência internacional

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