Collective Bargaining 

November, 2003 - Abel Mesquita

The system governing collective bargaining is that which the Code has changed the most. Among these changes, the most important is undoubtedly the provisions applicable to the survival of collective agreements. Under the prevailing law, once a collective bargaining agreement had reached its term, it would remain in force for an unlimited period of time until it was replaced by a new one. With this new system, upon the agreement reaching its term, it will remain in force for a limited period of time, which can however be as long as two and a half years, after which it will lapse, unless the parties or the Government have in the meantime agreed or decided, respectively, to resort to arbitration proceedings, in which case the agreement will be valid until the arbitration decision takes effect. The purpose of this change is to stimulate collective bargaining as a means of regulating labour relations. However, the present stagnation of collective bargaining is a rather more complex phenomenon, based on many other causes that have to do with the evolution of the economy, the associative reality of both employers and unions and the legal regime governing individual labour relations. Accordingly, the reaction of the social partners to this new legal system applicable to collective bargaining is unpredictable. There is no doubt however that the Code has opened prospects of change in this area, which advises that an in-depth new analysis on the future of collective bargaining in all business sectors be made. Abel Mesquita ([email protected])



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