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Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining takes place at national, industry and company level, and in the past the national agreement, normally negotiated every two years, provided a basis from which improvements could be negotiated. However, changes introduced following the 2010 crisis and the provision of IMF and EU financial support, have fundamentally altered the bargaining structure.

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Board-level Representation

There are legal provisions giving Portuguese employees the right to elect representatives on the governing bodies of state-owned companies and other public bodies. However, the way that these provisions have been implemented means that they only have a consultative role. There is no employee board level representation in private companies.

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Financial Participation

Financial participation is still not very widespread in Greece. In the public debate there is no distinctive general attitude towards financial participation. Neither the employees, the employers nor the government side have taken specific initiatives to change this situation.

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Collective Bargaining

Negotiations at industry level, between employers associations and the unions, have in the past been the most important element in Portugal’s collective bargaining arrangements. Company level agreements cover many fewer employers. Portugal has traditionally had a high level of collective bargaining coverage – partially through the extension of agreements by the government. However, this high level is under threat because of changes to the system under the pressure of the economic crisis.

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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 and in advance and in good time on a range of issues at least once 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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Health and Safety Representation

Health and safety representation in Greece is provided through separately elected health and safety representatives or a health and safety committee in larger companies. The committees are employee bodies but they or the health and safety representative should meet the employer on a regular basis.

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Financial Participation

The most important form of employee financial participation in Portugal is profit-sharing. Share ownership is less widespread. Basically, employee financial participation can be traced back to the privatization process, especially between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s. One of the policy objectives of the privatization process was to allow a wide participation of Portuguese citizens in the ownership of privatized firms.Today, employee financial participation no longer seems to be very important in the public debate.

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