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Assessing the Legal Value Added of Collective Bargaining Agreements

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  • Martins, Pedro S.
  • Saraiva, Joana

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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    Cited by:

    1. Martins, Pedro S., 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," IZA Discussion Papers 8540, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Martins, Pedro S., 2020. "What Do Employers' Associations Do?," IZA Discussion Papers 13705, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Martins, Pedro S. & Saraiva, Joana, 2020. "Assessing the legal value added of collective bargaining agreements," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    4. Pedro Silva Martins, 2019. "The Microeconomic Impacts of Employee Representatives: Evidence from Membership Thresholds," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 591-622, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour law; Working conditions; Collective agreements;
    All these keywords.

    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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