UGT assesses collective bargaining in 1996

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According to the UGT trade union confederation, during the 1996 collective bargaining round pay increases were generally settled in line with the Social Concertation Agreement for that year.

The Social Concertation Agreement for 1996 was signed by UGT, the Government and three employers' organisations (listed below), but not by the CGTP union confederation. It was based on forecasts for 1996 of an average rate of inflation of 3.5% and a 2% rise in productivity. A figure of 4.5% was recommended as the average base line increase in pay to be negotiated in collective agreements.

UGT has now released a public statement containing its assessment of the 1996 bargaining round, based on statistical information provided by the Ministry of Employment and the trade unions affiliated to UGT. It is still provisional, because not all the trade unions affiliated to UGT submitted information about the agreements they had signed. In addition, the assessment concentrates almost exclusively on the pay aspect.

UGT draws attention to the fact that pay rates increased by 4.5% in 1996. Bearing in mind that the final year-on-year rate of inflation for 1996 is expected to be 3.1%, real growth in wages was roughly 1.4% for the year. This was a higher figure than for 1995 (0.8%, according to the statement, which also points out that there was an increase in the number of agreements signed by trade unions affiliated to UGT (141 in 1995 as against 151 in 1996).

Comparing this with (provisional) information provided by the Ministry of Employment, UGT notes that 401 collective agreements were signed in 1996, covering roughly 1,663,000 workers (excluding civil servants). Collective bargaining activities are clearly concentrated in the second and third quarters of the year (when roughly 74% of all collective bargaining takes place).

UGT stresses that its members "have been signing more agreements than CGTP unions or other unions", and that they, "in isolation, must have signed roughly 48% of all agreements, as against little more than 30% signed by CGTP unions". It adds that "UGT unions are responsible for most of the agreements negotiated in the sectors of activity which employ the greatest number of workers", such as building and public works, the clothing industry and the banking sector.

The "Short-term Social Concertation Agreement" was signed in January 1996 by the Government, the General Workers' Union (União Geral dos Trabalhadores- UGT), the Confederation of Portuguese Industry (Confederação da Indústria Portuguesa- CIP), the Confederation of Portuguese Commerce (Confederação do Comércio Português- CCP) and the Confederation of Portuguese Farmers (Confederação dos Agricultores de Portugal- CAP), but not by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses- CGTP).

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