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Assessing the Legal Value Added of Collective Bargaining Agreements

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  • Martins, Pedro S.
  • Saraiva, Joana

Abstract

Abstract: How much value does collective bargaining add to the working conditions already established in general labour law? In this paper we propose a methodology to address this question: we compare the specific contents of collective agreements (except minimum wages) to their equivalent norms set by base law. We illustrate this approach by analysing in detail about 400 norms from six collective agreements in Portugal and then comparing them to the country’s Labour Code. We find that as many as 62% of those collective bargaining norms are exactly or virtually equal to the Labour Code; only 25% (an average of 16 norms per convention) are more favourable for the worker; and 12% (8) are more favourable for the employer. We conclude that collective bargaining in Portugal has a relatively small role as a source of effective labour law. We also present several potential explanations for our findings, including the wide range of base law, which may reduce the negotiating space of bargaining.

Suggested Citation

  • Martins, Pedro S. & Saraiva, Joana, 2019. "Assessing the Legal Value Added of Collective Bargaining Agreements," GLO Discussion Paper Series 406, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:406
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. E. Gautier & D. Fougère & S. Roux, 2016. "The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on Industry-Level Wage Bargaining in France," Working papers 587, Banque de France.
    2. Jelle Visser, 2016. "What happened to collective bargaining during the great recession?," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-35, December.
    3. Martins, Pedro S., 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," IZA Discussion Papers 8540, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Christian Dustmann & Bernd Fitzenberger & Uta Sch?nberg & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2014. "From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar: Germany's Resurgent Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 167-188, Winter.
    5. Pedro S. Martins, 2009. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 257-279, April.
    6. Haucap, Justus & Pauly, Uwe & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Collective wage setting when wages are generally binding An antitrust perspective," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 287-307, September.
    7. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro & Vilares, Hugo, 2015. "Unions and Collective Bargaining in the Wake of the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 8943, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Olivier Blanchard, 2007. "Adjustment within the euro. The difficult case of Portugal," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, April.
    9. Martins, Pedro S., 2017. "Economic effects of overtime premium flexibility: Firm- and worker-level evidence from a law reform," GLO Discussion Paper Series 102, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    10. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 minimum wages: The economic effects of collective agreement extensions," Working Papers 51, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour law; Working conditions; Collective agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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