9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN17 Industrial Relations, Labour Market Institutions and Employment

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Europeanization and Internationalization of Industrial Relations: Regulations and Processes Building AA, Auditório Silva Leal

Globalization and Labour Relations in Portugal

The deterritorialisation of the economic processes which accompanied the progress in new production and information technologies created new forms of work based on liberalization and flexibility. This gave rise to profound changes in the system of the labour relations.
Using the deep-rooted changes triggered by the new conjuncture in the global economy in the field of labour as our starting point, the aim of our research is to study the impact of these transformations on the labour relations system in Portugal and their different repercussions in the various sectors of economic activity. On one hand, the liberalization of the global economic markets has led to the relocation of industries from Portugal to countries with lower production costs, which has resulted in increasing unemployment in some economic sectors, notably the textile, footwear and automobile sectors. On the other hand, the development of transport and telecommunications has created new jobs in the service area, particularly in new technologies and the tourist industries and led to the technological and organizational restructuring of the banking sector.
As a result of these changes, there have been some shifts in the organization and conditions of work. Jobs have become more flexible and unstable and this has segmented and individualized labour relations, weakening the ties of solidarity among workers. The rise in part-time and temporary jobs, precarious work contracts and decreasing social protection of workers are just some of the effects of the new socio-economic model, emerging with globalization.
Portuguese trade unionism has therefore been facing new challenges and, like other trade unions world wide, has seen its membership decline. Employers, on the other hand, have also had problems adapting to the new realities particularly the so called Traditional Employers.
The aim of this study is to analyse the trade union?s responses, employers? attitudes and also the behaviour and expectations of workers in this context of change. We apply the sociological intervention method conceived by Alain Touraine in the sphere of Sociology of Action in order to confront the social actors and reflect on these questions together.