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Workplace Representation

Although in theory there are two channels of workplace representation of employees for most issues – through the workplace union representatives and through an elected works council, in practice works councils are relatively rare. They normally only exist in large companies where unions are strong. The rights of both are limited to information and consultation, with no opportunity to block management decisions.

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European-level Representation

In line with the key role played by the union at workplace level in Greece, it is the local union organisation which has priority in choosing European level representatives.

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Trade Unions

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Around a quarter of employees in Greece are union members, but the position is very different in the public and state-owned sector, where unions have relatively high levels of membership, and the private sector, where unions are weak. There are only two major confederations, ADEDY covering the central, local and regional government, and GSEE covering the rest. Below this level there is a hierarchy of union structures, but they are fragmented.note1

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Health and Safety Representation

The health and safety representation of employees in Portugal is provided by specially elected health and safety representatives. They should meet the employer at least once a month and have the right to be consulted in writing on a range of issues at least twice a year. Joint employer/employee health and safety committees can be set up where there is a collective agreement to that effect.

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European-level Representation

All Portuguese members of bodies concerned with European Works Councils or European Companies are chosen in the same way – appointed by agreement with the works council and the unions, or by the unions if there is no works council, and they represent sufficient employees.

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Key Facts

Population11,290,067
Collective Bargaining Coverage 65%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 25%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry – but crisis and consequent legal changes have given greater role to company negotiations

Workplace Representation

union – works councils exist in theory but not often in practice

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned companies

Company Board Structure

monistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

What is a European Company (SE)?

Trade Unions

Lack of precise data makes it difficult to give figures of trade union membership in Portugal and there is a large gap between the totals provided by the unions and the union density estimates of the government. There are two main trade union confederations, the CGTP-IN and the UGT, whose relationship was initially marked by conflict rather than co-operation, but has now improved. Trade union structures are complex with almost 350 autonomous individual unions.

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Collective Bargaining

The system has been fundamentally changes by legislation passed in 2011 and collective bargaining at national level, which previously set minimum pay and conditions for the whole economy, has been abolished. There are also new rules for bargaining at industry and company level, which has weakened the position of unions.

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Key Facts

Population10,542,398
Collective Bargaining Coverage 92%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 19%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry

Workplace Representation

union – works councils exist in theory but less frequently in practice

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned companies

Company Board Structure

monistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

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