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Transposition of the SE legislation in Portugal (Update: January 2005)

Tripartite Negotiations on the Transposition Bill Delayed Due to Fall of Government: On 20 October 2004, the Portuguese Labour Ministry published a bill (projeto de decreto-lei) for the transposition of Directive 2001/86/EC of 8 October 2001 supplementing the Statute for a European Company with regard to employee involvement. The Ministry initiated a process of “public discussion” of the bill, which is an obligatory part of the labour legislation process. The period of public discussion finished at the end of November 2004.

From the legal point of view, the government may now promulgate the law. However, from a political point of view the legitimacy of doing so may be questioned from various angles. First, during the period of public discussion the bill received harsh criticism from the social partners: for a number of different reasons, both employers and trade unions demanded a “profound review” of the bill. Second, the present government itself has only limited legitimacy. In December the President of the Portuguese Republic decided to dissolve the Parliament and called for general elections that will take place on 20 February 2005. A few days later the government stepped down.

At the moment it seems that the Socialist Party will beat the governing right-wing coalition in the coming elections and that there will be a new government supported by a left majority. That means that the transposition project which has been drawn up by the present right-wing government may be subject to major changes, even if it comes into force before the elections.

The bill was published in the Labour Ministry’s Bulletin (Boletim do Trabalho e Emprego 10, Separata) on 20 October 2004.

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