Portugal: The representativeness of trade unions and employer associations in the banking sector

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Employee representation,
  • Social partners,
  • Published on: 04 August 2011



About
Country:
Portugal
Author:
Reinhard Naumann
Institution:

The three regional UGT member unions (SBSI, SBN and SIBACE) organise the majority of the unionised workforce in banking and have a leading role in collective bargaining. Their hegemony is challenged by three unions linked to other confederations, namely SNQTB (USI), STEC (CGTP) and SINTAF (CGTP). In the employers’ camp there is one dominating association, the APB. The coverage of collective bargaining is almost 100%. There are approximately 1,000 companies in the sector that employ 70,000 workers, which corresponds to a 2% share of total employment. Collective agreements are negotiated and signed by individual companies or by groups of companies, not by the APB.

1. Sectoral properties

Economic background

Since the liberalisation of the Portuguese economy and the privatisation of the banks during the 1990s the banking sector has been profoundly restructured and has attracted some foreign direct investment. During the past decade the number of companies has tripled and employment has grown by approximately 10%.

The crisis on the financial global markets has not had a strong direct effect on the sector in Portugal. One medium-sized bank (the BPN) had to be nationalised in order to stabilise the system and the Bank of Portugal took control of a smaller one (the BPP) that had become insolvent.

Between 1998 and 2008 the number of companies tripled, but employment only increased by 10%. The share of female workers rose from 35% to 45%.

There are no data available regarding the impact of the crisis on social partners and unionisation levels.

Development of employment

Table 1: Sectoral properties
 

1998

2008

Number of companies in the sector

362

1,062

Source of company data

Ministry of Labour. Data refers to number of branches/units.

Aggregate employment

65,000

71,500

Share of sectoral employment in %

2.6

2

Source of employment figures

Ministry of Labour

Aggregate employees

63,797

70,014

Male employees

41,806

38,243

Female employees

21,991

31,771

Share of sectoral employees in %

3

2

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

(i) trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining

SBSI – Sindicato dos Bancários do Sul e Ilhas (Bank Employees Workers Unions of Southern Portugal and Islands)

SBN – Sindicato dos Bancários do Norte (Bank Employees Unions of Northern Portugal)

SIBACE – Sindicato dos Bancários do Centro (Bank Employees Unions of Central Portugal)

SNQTB – Sindicato Nacional dos Quadros Técnicos da Banca (National Union of Qualified Bank Employees)

SIB – Sindicato Independente da Banca (Independent Union in Banking)

SINTAF – Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Actividade Financeira (Union of Workers in Financial Activities)

STEC – Sindicato dos Trabalhadores das Empresas do Grupo Caixa Geral de Depósitos (Union of Workers in the Companies of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos-Group)

(ii) trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. UNI-Europa – Finance)

SBSI – Sindicato dos Bancários do Sul e Ilhas (Bank Employees Workers Unions of Southern Portugal and Islands)

SBN – Sindicato dos Bancários do Norte (Bank Employees Unions of Northern Portugal)

SIBACE – Sindicato dos Bancários do Centro (Bank Employees Unions of Central Portugal)

(iii) employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

The National Federation of Mutual Agricultural Credit Banks (FENACAM – Federação Nacional das Caixas de Crédito Agricola Mútuo).

The Portuguese Association of Banks (Associação Portuguesa de Bancos, APB) is actively involved in the negotiations in the sector, but it does not sign agreements by itself. Agreements are signed by its members (individual companies or groups of companies).

(iv) employer associations (business associations) which are a member of the sector-related European Employer/Business Federations (i.e. EBF – European Banking Federation, including EBF’s BCESA – Banking Committee for European Social Affairs; ESBG – European Savings Banks Group and EACB – European Association of Co-operative Banks)

APB is a member of EBF and EBFS’ BCESA.

FENACAM and the Bank Crédito Agrícola are affiliated to EACB.

Three individual Portuguese banks (Caixa Económica da Misericórdia de Angra do Heroísmo, Montepio and Caixa Geral de Depósitos) are members of the ESBG. Montepio and Caixa Geral de Depósitos are affiliated to APB. The Caixa Económica da Misericórdia de Angra do Heroísmo is not affiliated to APB.

2a Data on the trade unions

Table 2: Union Fact sheet: Bank Employees Workers Unions of Southern Portugal and Islands (SBSI)

Affiliation to multinational organisations

Union International Network (UNI)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Union International Network – EUROPA (UNI-Europa)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

General Workers’ Union (UGT), Federation of the Financial Sector (FEBASE)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SNQTB, SIB, SINTAF, STEC

 

2009

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

25,009

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

47,909

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

25,009

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

47,909

Female membership as % of total members

0

Source of sectoral membership figures

Administration

Union density – active members

57%

Sectoral density – active members

36%

Sectoral domain density – active members

57%

Union density – total members

108%

Sectoral density – total members

68%

Sectoral domain density – total members

108%

Table 3: Union Fact sheet: Bank Employees Workers Unions of Northern Portugal (SBN)

Affiliation to multinational organisations

Union International Network (UNI)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Union International Network – EUROPA (UNI-Europa); Standing Committee of European Central Bank Unions (SCECBU)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

General Workers’ Union (UGT), Federation of the Financial Sector (FEBASE)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SNQTB, SIB, SINTAF, STEC

 

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

9,800

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

17,900

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

9,800

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

17,900

Female membership as % of total members

0

Source of sectoral membership figures

Administrative

Union density – active members

58%

Sectoral density – active members

14–26%

Sectoral domain density – active members

58%

Union density – total members

106%

Sectoral density – total members

106%

Sectoral domain density – total members

106%

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

All categories of salaried workers in the banking sector in the North of Portugal. This means that SBSI's domain does not cover the whole banking sector in the national territory

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

The union answered no, but it probably has the same practice as SBSI and SIBACE in relation to TAWs.

Table 4: Union Fact sheet: Bank Employees Workers Unions of Central Portugal (SIBCE)

Affiliation to multinational organisations

Union International Network (UNI)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Union International Network – EUROPA (UNI-Europa)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

General Workers' Union (UGT), Federation of the Financial Sector (FEBASE)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SNQTB, SIB, SINTAF, STEC

 

2005

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

2,500–3,000

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

5,000–6,000

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

2,500–3,000

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

5,000–6,000

Female membership as % of total members

n.g.

Source of sectoral membership figures

Own calculation

Union density – active members

28–34%

Sectoral density – active members

4%

Sectoral domain density – active members

28–34%

Union density – total members

57–68%

Sectoral density – total members

7–9%

Sectoral domain density – total members

57–68%

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

All categories of salaried workers in the banking sector in central Portugal. This means that SBSI's domain does not cover the whole banking sector in the national territory.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

SBSI exclusively organises salaried workers in the banking sector AND in temporary work agencies that operate in the banking sector.

Table 5: Union Fact sheet: National Union of Qualified Bank Employees (SNQTB)

Affiliation to multinational organisations

No data

Affiliation to European-level organisations

CEC European Managers

Affiliation to national-level organisations

Union of Independent Trade Unions (USI)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SBSI, SBN, SIBACE, SINTAF, STEC

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

n.g.

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

Female membership as % of total members

n.g.

Union density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – active members

n.g.

Union density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

All highly qualified bank employees in Portugal

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

No

Table 6: Union Fact sheet: Independent Union in Banking (SIB)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

Union of Independent Trade Unions (USI)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

congruence

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SBSI, SBN, SIBACE, SINTAF, STEC

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

n.g.

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

Female membership as % of total members

n.g.

Union density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – active members

n.g.

Union density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

All categories of salaried workers in the banking sector in Portugal

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

no

Table 7: Union Fact sheet: Union of Workers in Financial Activities (SINTAF)

Affiliation to multinational organisations

No data

Affiliation to European-level organisations

No data

Affiliation to national-level organisations

No (In 2009 SINTAF applied for membership of the national union confederation CGTP-IN, but it has not yet been admitted.)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Union's domain with regard to sector

congruence

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SBSI, SBN, SIBACE, SIB, STEC

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

n.g.

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

Female membership as % of total members

n.g.

Union density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – active members

n.g.

Union density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

All categories of salaried workers in the banking sector in Portugal

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

No data

Table 8: Union Fact sheet: Union of Workers in the Companies of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos-Group (STEC)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

SBSI, SBN, SIBACE, SIB, SINTAF

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

4,914

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

Female membership as % of total members

n.g.

Source of sectoral membership figures

Administrative

Union density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral density – active members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density – active members

n.g.

Union density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral Density – total members

n.g.

Sectoral Domain Density – total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

All categories of salaried workers in the companies of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos Group (CGD)

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

No data

2b Data on the employer associations

Table 9: Employers’ organisation: Portuguese Association of Banks (APB)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

European Banking Federation (EBF)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

No data

Engagement in sectoral related collective bargaining

yes

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

congruence

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

FENACAM

 

2008

Number of member companies, total

27

Number of employees in member companies total

55,000–65,000

Number of member companies in sector

27

Number of employees in member companies in sector

55,000–65,000

Source of membership figures

Own calculation

Domain density – employees

79–93%

Sectoral density – employees

79–93%

Sectoral domain density – employees

79–93%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

All banks and other credit institutions of all sizes at national level.

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

No

Table 10: Employers’ organisation: National Federation of Mutual Agricultural Credit Banks (FENACAM)

Affiliation to multinational organisations

International Confederation of Agricultural Credit (CICA); International Raiffeisen Union (IRU); Organisation of Cooperatives in Portuguese Speaking Countries (OCPLP)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

no data

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

APB

Number of member companies, total

91

Number of employees in member companies total

n.g.

 

2008

Number of member companies in sector

91

Number of employees in member companies in sector

n.g.

Source of membership figures

Administrative

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

Organises companies that are part of the ‘Crédito Agrícola’ (national level) group that aggregates cooperative credit institutes in agriculture and related activities (hunting, etc.) and that controls some minor businesses outside banking, for instance in insurance. In principle FENACAM might organise all sizes of firms, but in fact the cooperatives are SMEs. FENACAM has 91 member organisations. Some of them have several activities. This is why the numbers of its member companies in the sector and in the domain are identical.

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

Yes, cooperatives that are credit institutions in agriculture (see above).

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

3a.1 Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

The domains of the regional unions SBSI, SBN and SIBACE do not overlap with one another, but they do overlap (to varying degrees) with the domains of all other unions.

The domains of all other unions do overlap (to varying degrees) with one another.

SBSI – Sindicato dos Bancários do Sul e Ilhas (Bank Employees Workers Unions of Southern Portugal and Islands)

SBN – Sindicato dos Bancários do Norte (Bank Employees Unions of Northern Portugal)

SIBACE – Sindicato dos Bancários do Centro (Bank Employees Unions of Central Portugal)

SNQTB – Sindicato Nacional dos Quadros Técnicos da Banca (National Union of Qualified Bank Employees)

SIB – Sindicato Independente da Banca (Independent Union in Banking)

SINTAF – Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Actividade Financeira (Union of Workers in Financial Activities)

STEC – Sindicato dos Trabalhadores das Empresas do Grupo Caixa Geral de Depósitos (Union of Workers in the Companies of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos-Group)

3a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Yes.

3a.3 If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

No.

3b Inter-employer association relationships

3b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

The National Federation of Mutual Agricultural Credit Banks (FENACAM – Federação Nacional das Caixas de Crédito Agricola Mútuo).

The Portuguese Association of Banks (Associação Portuguesa de Bancos, APB)

3b.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the employer associations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

No.

3b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

3b.4 Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

No.

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

Almost 100%

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

In Portuguese banking the principal employers’ association APB is involved in negotiations, but it does not sign agreements. The agreements are negotiated and signed by individual companies (the so-called Acordo de Empresa, AE) or by groups of companies (the Acordo Colectivo de Trabalho, ACT).

If we follow a rigid definition of multi-employer bargaining its share in Portuguese banking is 0%. But if we consider the ACT negotiated with the coordination of the APB and signed by several banks to be a kind of multi-employer agreement (which it is de facto), then the share may be estimated at about 70%. Single-employer agreements cover about 30% of the workforce.

These numbers are based on the estimates of coverage that the social partners themselves make in the agreements. Generally article number 2 defines the coverage of the agreement.

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

No.

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Table 11: Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
Bargaining parties Purview of the sector-related multi-employer wage agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial

ACT Banca: Several Banks (ccordinated by APB) and the Federation FEBASE (SBSI, SBN and SIBACE)

Banking (approx. 70% of employees covered)

All

National

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

Table 12: The four most important agreements in terms of employees covered
Bargaining parties Purview of the agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial

ACT Banca: Several Banks (ccordinated by APB) and the Federation FEBASE (SBSI, SBN and SIBACE)

Banking (approx. 70% of employees covered)

Approximately 54,000

All

National

AE CGD:

Approximately 11,000

   

ACT BCP:

Approximately 9,000

   

ACT CCAM:

Approximately 3,000

   

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

Yes, occasionally, as for instance recently in the debate about the transfer of the pension funds of several banks into the general public pension scheme. In 2008 a tripartite agreement on this question was signed between the government, the APB and the three regional trade unions SBSI, SBN and SIBACE.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

No tripartite and no bipartite bodies. There is no specific body for information and consultation in the sector, but governments consult unions and employers with regard to important issues.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade unions

6a.1 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6a.2 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No, but the membership of a union in one of the two confederations (CGTP-IN and UGT) represented at the body for tripartite macro-concertation (CPCS) may be decisive (or at least important) in terms of whether they are consulted or not.

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No.

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employers organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6b.2 In the case of the employer’s organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6b.3 Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

No.

7. Commentary

The traditional hegemony of the three regional sector unions SBSI, SBN and SIBACE (all affiliated at the UGT cofederation) is challenged by the most important member union of the very small confederation USI, the SNQTB (founded in 1983), and more recently also by two trade unions related to the largest confederation CGTP, namely SINTAF (created in 2005) and STEC (founded in 2001). The SIB does not seem to have a significant number of members and does not seem to play a relevant role in the sector.

SBSI, SBN and SIBACE have lost their monopoly position in collective bargaining and have ceded some terrain to the new unions, but until now they have been able to defend their majority position in the sector. In 2007–8 they created – together with two of the three UGT unions in the insurance sector – the Federation of the Financial Sector (FEBASE), which is involved in collective bargaining and other activities of UGT’s financial sector unions.

On the employers’ side there is an overlap of domains between Portuguese Association of Banks (APB) and FENACAM, but the holding of cooperatives that are members at FENACAM (the Central Bank for Mutual Agricultural Credit) is also a member of the APB. There is no competition between APB and FENACAM because the latter organises a small and very specific segment of the sector that is integrated into the general bankers’ association APB.

APB itself does not sign collective agreements. This is done by the banks themselves. One group of banks negotiates an agreement that covers only the 33 participating institutions. The other banks negotiate their agreements individually. In some cases APB may have an advisory role in the process.

Reinhard Naumann, DINAMIA/ISCTE

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