Industrial relations in the public sector ─ Portugal

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 10 december 2008



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Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

This report presents an overview of industrial relations in the central government and public sector in Portugal.

1. Structure of the public sector in your country

Please provide:

The definition of the public sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered (e.g. central government, local government, health sector, education, others)?

Public sector refers to the employment relationship of individuals who are employed by the State, under the direction of the respective departments and agencies; it is governed by public law (Decree-Law 184/89 of June 2, and 427/89, of December 7). The relationship is statutory in nature.The official Data Base on Human Resources in the Public Administration (Base de Dados Recursos Humanos Administração Pública, BDAP ) which gives data from 2005, includes in the public sector all the persons with a legal employment relation with the state central administration (direct or indirect), with the sovereign bodies (Parliament, Presidency of the Republic, etc.) and respective assistance services; with the local administration (local authorities); and with the regional autonomous administration (Madeira and Azores). The public sector includes the health sector, education and research, social security, environment protection, financial, legal and juridical services, police and armed forces. These areas are not decentralized and are directly or indirectly included in the central government.

The definition of the central government sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered?

The definition of central government, or central administration, covers essentially ministry employees (DGAP). It is important to mention that the central government includes direct and indirect central administration. Examples of indirect central administration are public institutes, such as hospitals and universities. Also the national bank, Banco de Portugal is considered as a public institute. The central government includes the health sector, education and research, social security, environment protection, financial, legal and juridical services, police and armed forces.

The following data:

Table 1. Employment and population
Year Central government Public sector Total Employees (all economy) Total Population
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2000

   

749,000

2,765,200

2,255,700

4,933,800

5,289,500

2003

               

2004

   

755,000

2,784,200

2,338,600

5,087,400

5,421,100

2005

346,532

221,852

   

2,765,400

2,357,200

5,115,300

5,447,900

2005

568,384

737,774

5,122,600

10,563,000

Source: BDAP, INE Labour Force Survey.

Table 2. Central government employment
Year Open-ended of which part-time Fixed-term of which part-time
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

               

2004

               

2005

ne

ne

   

ne

ne

   

2005

Total: 451,611

   

Total: 89,436

   

Central Government employees include teachers, NHS employees, armed forces and police and other non direct ministerial employees. Published data BDAP do not identify their exact number but gives the number of persons employed by ministry: Ministry of Education (Ministério da Educação, ME) 205,437; Ministry of Health (Ministério da Saúde, MS) 113,295; Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Ministério da Ciência e do Ensino Superior, MCTES) 40,828; Ministry of National Defence (Ministério da Defesa Nacional, MDN) 49,883; Ministry of Internal Administration (Ministério da Administração Interna, MAI) 54,086 ; Ministry of Justice (Ministério da Justiça, MJ) 20,351; Ministry of Agriculture (Ministério da Agricultura, do Desenvolvimento Rural e Pescas, MADRP) 11, 862;Ministry of Economy (Ministério da Economia e da Inovação, MEI); Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, MNE) 3250; Ministry of Finances and Public Administration (Ministério das Finanças e da Administração Pública MFAP) 16325; Ministry of Labour( Ministério do Trabalho e da Segurança Social MTSS) 26447.

Please indicate whether fixed-term employment and part-time work are typical of certain organisational areas in the central government sector (for instance, top job positions rather than lower-level occupations) or group of workers (such as employees approaching retirement, new recruits, women, technicians, and the like)

In central government part-time employment is not common. Full time employment is clearly dominant. Fixed-term employment is more common, but there is not an estimation of the organisational areas or groups where it is typical, although in ‘public institutes’ it seems to be more common.

Please indicate the presence and quantitative relevance of non-standard employment relationships in the central government sector, and especially of temporary agency work and service contracts with individuals or other non-standard contractual relationships that are important in your country.

The legal relationship of public employment is formed by ‘appointment’ (nomeação) or by contract (contrato) and personnel as a rule must be selected through open competition (according to the article 47 of the Constitution). The appointment defines a situation of open-ended employment. According to the legal regime the ‘appointment’ is defined as a unilateral act of the Administration, that aims to fill a staff position to guarantee the professional performance of public specific functions with a permanent nature. Standard employment in the public sector corresponds to this definition.

The employment by contract, a bilateral act defining a transitory situation of subordination, includes two types: the administrative contract of appointment (contrato administrativo de provimento) and the individual labour contract (contrato individual de trabalho). In both types of contract the employees are not integrated in the public sector permanent staff, and consequently are not considered public servants.

The administrative contract of appointment (although fixed-term) as a transitional nature insofar it gives access, under certain conditions to public servant careers. Under this type of contract persons have the status of public agents. It is commonly used in different sectors such as health and education, but is also used for workers in the beginning of their careers.

The individual labour contract is another type of employment relationship that can be used in the public sector (DL 184/89; and DL 427/89 and Law 23/2004). According to the Labour Code it includes two types: the open-ended contract and the fixed term contract (with defined or undefined term). Individual fixed-term contracts are more common in public sector.

According to BDAP an important part of the employees in the central government are non-standard. In this category is worth to mention individual labour contracts (open-ended or fixed term), and service contracts with individuals such as ‘avença’ and ‘tarefa’ (which are not part of the public sector contractual relationship).

Standard employment (by appointment) represents 74.2%; semi-standard employment (administrative contract of appointment) represents 8.3%; and non standard employment represents 13.5%. If we add to the non standard those which contractual situation is unknown ( 4%) around 18% of the total employment in central government is non standard. DGAP- Comissão de Revisão do Sistema de Carreiras e Remunerações)

2. Employment regulation

Public sector vs. private sector.

Do (certain) public sector employees enjoy special status compared with private sector employees?

In general public sector employees enjoy a special status compared with private sector employees. Their status is defined by the Legal Regime of Public Sector, while the status of private employees is defined by the Labour Code. The more contrasting status is observed between public servants (permanent staff), and employees in the private sector.

Do all public sector employees have the same status or are there differences between different groups of employees, as, for instance, between civil servants, clerical employees and workers?

There are differences, which are related to functional ministry areas and to occupational/professional divisions as well. There are particular groups with specific statutes, such as, for instance, doctors, nurses, school teachers, and higher education teachers. Within the public sector are defined special autonomous regimes regarding careers for teachers, high level management staff, and computer staff, etc.

If public sector employees enjoy special status(es), please specify:

The distinctive features of (each) public sector employment status, highlighting the main differences with the status of private sector employees (and, if relevant, among the various public sector statuses). In particular, indicate whether such differences involve the rights: i) of association; ii) to bargaining collectively; iii) to strike.

The legal relationship of public employment is statutory in nature, and is governed by special rules of conduct. The public employment relationship is regulated by a separate set of rules and based on special principles, particularly in the case of public servants.

The main differences between public and private employees regard rights and obligations, in relation to the different aspects of the employment relationship (wages, careers, mobility, working time, etc), and also in relation to disciplinary regulations, retirement system, social security and health system.

Public sector employees’ who have the status of public servants follow a career model which main characteristics are the following:

• Statute defined by public law, which can be unilaterally modified by the Administration.

• Life long appointment

• Statutory wage system.

• Career rigid structure and statutory definition of the requirements to enter each career

• Promotion and wage progression statutory defined and based on skills and seniority.

• Special retirement and pension system for public servants (Caixa Geral de Aposentações, CGA).

• Special disciplinary statute.

Trade union freedom and the right to strike have the same legal presence in the public service as in private sector, with restrictions in regard to certain careers and groups (e.g. the armed and militarized forces). However, the right to bargain carries much less force (although under current law the public administration is subject to a duty to bargain in certain cases, it is not bound by the outcome of collective bargaining).

The requirements that must be fulfilled to gain (each) such special status(es): i) pass a public examination; ii) achieve a certain tenure in the position; c) in terms of nationality; d) other specific conditions.

The recruitment in the Public Sector is always preceded by an open process of selection. All the Portuguese citizens as well as citizens from EU (or in particular conditions from outside EU) can be candidates, if they fulfil the requirements demanded, which include academic and professional skills. According to the Constitution, public concourse (concurso) is a legal requirement for hiring in the public sector, including the situations of appointment and administrative contract of appointment. However in the case of individual labour contracts in the public sector, Constitutional Court jurisprudence demands the respect of the same rules i.e. equality of conditions to fulfil the job, public offer, and the guarantee of impartiality in the evaluation of the candidates.

Central government. Please indicate whether and how this special employment status regulation applies to central government employees.

Central government follows the same rules

Please fill in the following table:

Table 3. Status of central government employees
Year Total employees Appointment Administrative contract of appointment

Individual labour contract

Fixed term

Individual labour contract

Open-ended

Service contracts with individuals Unknown

2003

             

2004

             

2005

568,384

427,166

48,053

41,383

24,445

11,806

23,197

N.B.: There is not published information disaggregated by gender

Please indicate the elements of the employment relationship of central government employees which are regulated by:

Specific legislation.

Issues relating to the structure, assigned tasks, competence, human resources policy, management and functioning of the public administration are excluded from collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining

The law nº 23/98 guarantees that the workers in the public sector have the right to negotiate their statutes. The law defines collective bargaining as the negotiation between the trade-unions and the public administration about the statutes, in order to reach an agreement. Once an agreement is reached the government is obliged to adopt the legal or administrative measures defined by the agreement, with the exception of those that demand the discussion at the Parliament. The elements that are object of negotiation are in general all the issues related with working conditions and health and security at work, covering in general the issues of collective agreements in the private sector. Social security conditions are also negotiated in the public sector, while this domain is not included in the collective bargaining in the private sector. All the elements are defined by specific legislation or administrative decisions, which are preceded normally by negotiations with the trade-unions (see above). However, in practical terms the agreement does not have normative value as it is the case of collective agreements in the private sector. The practical application is conditioned to the legal and administrative intervention of the government.

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reform of employment regulation in the central government sector since the 1990s has affected:

The status of workers.

The Law 23/2004, created the conditions to generalize the individual labour contracts.

The Law 10/2004 defined the mechanisms for the recognition and promotion of merit and the revision of the performance evaluation system.

The Law 2/2004 and the Law 10/2004 defined top management performance evaluation in relation with the accomplishment of objectives, and defined differentiated wage level for top management positions.

The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

It was only in the end of the 1990s that major steps were taken in relation to trade union freedom and the right to organise in public sector with the Decree-law 84/99; and that the right to collective bargaining was recognized with the Law 23/98. The Law 23/98 regulates the exercise of negotiation rights of the employees in public administration that are under the regime of public law, i.e. the rights to negotiate their statutes. The same law is clear establishing that the employees in public administration, under the regime of private law, are regulated by the general law on collective bargaining, which defines the right to celebrate collective agreements that are legally binding. The employment relationship of the persons under the regime of labour contracts can be ruled by collective agreement,

Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

Conflict regulation is also defined by the law 23/98. It is defined that once the period of bargaining is over, and there is not an agreement the trade-unions are entitled to call for a supplementary round of negotiations to reach an agreement. If the supplementary negotiations do not produce any the government is free to decide. This means that according to collective bargaining in the public sector the government is obliged to implement the agreements when they take place but in the case of non agreement is free to legislate.

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reorganisation and restructuring in the central government sector since the 1990s, for instance through the establishment of special agencies or the separation of specific bodies and offices, has affected:

The status of significant groups of workers.

According to the legal framework it is considered that in ‘public institutes’ the generality of functions can be performed by workers under the regime of individual labour contract, which is not legally acceptable in the Central Direct administration. Furthermore the ‘public institutes’ follow an organizational and statutory model very close to the Public Companies (Empresas públicas). Reorganisation affected also the health sector insofar some public hospitals change their status, being allowed to use individual labour contracts.

The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

In the hospitals there is the first ongoing process to establish a collective agreement for the Hospitals SA now designated EPE. However, the Doctors Federation (Federação dos Médicos, FNAM) has been trying to establish this collective agreement over the last year without success.

Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

3. Pay levels and determination

Please indicate:

The presence and relevance of collective bargaining on pay in the central government sector.

Collective bargaining on pay is relevant but, as explained before, it has not the same characteristics has in the private sector, because if there is not an agreement the government can define administratively the wage increase.

The number and scope of bargaining units on pay within the central government sector.

(See 6. Collective bargaining)

Do minimum wage levels vary across the different bargaining units within the central government sector? Are there common minimum wage levels in the whole public sector?

The structure of basic wages in the public sector is related to the Index 100, which lowest level can be considered as a minimum wage level. The evolution of the minimum wage in the private sector compared with the minimum value of the ‘Index 100’ shows that this one has decreased comparatively, over the years.

.

Year

Index 100 Public sector € Minimum Wage Private sector € Index 100 in % of to minimum wage private sector
2000 291.21 318.23 91.5
2001 302.02 334.19 90.4
2002 310.33 348.00 89,2
2003 310.33 357.00 86,9
2004 310.33 365.20 85.0
2005 317.16 374.00 84.8

However the wage structure includes three types of Index scales, related with functional differences, which present different values for the ‘Index 100’:

  • An index scale for the general regime careers (including those with specific designations) and for the special regime careers;
  • An index scale for the management top positions;
  • An index scale for the special bodies which ‘Index 100’ is differentiated in relation with careers that have autonomous wage structures, such as: diplomatic career; armed and security forces; teachers’ career; scientific research careers; doctors’ careers; and nurses careers.

According to the DGAP- Comissão de Revisão do Sistema de Carreiras e Remunerações , and considering the wage level in 2005, the following table gives examples of the minimum and maximum wage of the index scales of some of the careers that are more typical of the different wage systems in the public sector.

Careers

Minimum Wage €

Maximum Wage €

General regime

High Technical

1268,64

2854,44

Technical

935,62

2061,54

Techno professional

631,15

1427,22

Administrative

631,15

1458,94

Skilled Worker

450,37

805,59

Assistant

390,11

821,44

Special Regime

Hospital Administration

1395,50

2791,01

Computer

656,52

2854,44

Judicial

723,12

2569,00

Special Bodies

Diplomatic corps

1481,64

4030,05

Doctors

1008,71

5121,12

Teachers (basic and secondary level)

1058,60

2856,54

Nurses

942,43

2728,08

Prison guards

682,82

1205,21

Management

Top Management 1st level

 

3449,91

Top Management 2nd level

 

2932,42

Intermediate Management 1st level

 

2759,93

Intermediate Management 2nd level

 

2414,94

Is there a single job classification system for the whole central government sector?

As explained in the previous point there is not a single job classification system for the whole central government sector.

Wage levels and wage increases in the central government and private sectors since 2000 (table 4). If there are great variations across bargaining units within the central government sector, please briefly illustrate such variations.

Table 4. Central government and private sector: wage levels and increases since 2000 (average)
Year Central government Private sector
Level € Annual increase % Level € Annual increase %

2000

       

2001

 

3.7

 

4.0

2002

 

2.8

686.6

3.7

2003

 

1.5*

750.1

2.9

2004

 

2.0*

780.1

2.9

2005

 

2.2

890.3

2.7

* Up to 1000 euros/month, frozen otherwise.

Sources: MFAP; MTSS; and INE.

Professional Group

Number of persons

Central government (ministry employees) Wage average €

2002

2003

2004

2005

Auxiliary Personnel

121,144

564.87

573.39

584.89

597.76

Workers

35,387

618.45

630.05

642.97

657.12

Administrative personnel

68,355

766.69

778.19

794.08

811.55

Technical Personnel

13,901

1,321.12

1,323.48

1,327.77

1,356.99

High Technical Personnel

19,057

1,803.60

1,804.34

1,807.37

1,844.96

The presence and relevance of variable performance-related pay in the central government sector. Please indicate whether variable pay is particularly relevant in certain bargaining units or organisational areas (for instance, top job positions, officers, or other occupations).

Performance related pay has such as never been defined by general law in Portugal. In the public sector and central government, the legal benefits of performance evaluation are only indirectly related with the wages, insofar the classification of ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ give permission to reduce the duration of the necessary time to enter the career. However, in the public institutes that have exclusively or predominantly employment by contract, there are practices of performance- related pay, in line with the respective internal regulations or when collective agreements define explicitly the association between wage and performance.

In the case of appointed personnel, performance related pay is rare. The few cases of variable pay are not exactly related with performance, but with formulas of variable supplementary wage, which criteria are not clearly defined. Examples of personnel with variable wages can be found in the following structures: Directorate General for Informatics and Assistance to Taxation (Direcção-Geral de Informática e Apoio aos Serviços Tributários); Directorate General for Taxation (Direcção-Geral dos Impostos); Directorate General for Customs and Excise Tax (Direcção-Geral das Alfândegas e dos Impostos Especiais sobre o Consumo). Other examples are the public servants on the dependency of the Health Ministry integrated in specific programmes to reduce waiting lists and increase health care work. According to DGAP the regime more close to performance relate pay is the one applied to the doctors of general clinic.

Performance evaluation can also be related to career mobility. This is the case of the career of basic and secondary education (with 10 steps) which access can be reached when cumulatively are observed three factors: time of service; performance evaluation; and training with approval (credits).

Finally there is a contrast between the wages of public servants and the wages of employees with an individual labour contract in the public sector.The recent information provided by DGAP- Comissão de Revisão do Sistema de Carreiras e Remunerações points however to a slight convergence between them over the last years.

Level of wages of persons with individual labour contract compared with public servants.

(% of persons)

 

higher

equal

lower

2001

50.9

16.9

32.2

2002

47.6

19.3

33.2

2003

44.8

25.6

29.5

2004

41.7

33.8

24.4

2005

41.6

33.4

24.9

Source: DGAP

Are there any form of “benchmarking” of wage dynamics in the central government sector with other public sectors or with the private sector? If yes, are industrial relations actors involved in such benchmarking activity?

Yes there are forms, and industrial relations actors are involved. In particular, when there are not national agreements on wages at the Standing Committee for Social Concertation (Comissão Permanente de Concertação Social CPCS), the government reference for the public sector is used by the employers in the negotiations in the private sector. Inside the public sector “benchmarking” takes place in relation to special bodies with autonomous statutes (Health; Education; Magistrate etc.)

4. Union Presence and density

Please provide information on:

Trade unions which are present in the various bargaining units of the central government sector, their number, affiliation, representational domain, membership, and the sectoral union density (data by gender). Please fill in the following table:

The Portuguese trade unions in public administration are divided into three groups:

  • The largest group is constituted by those unions that are organized in the Common Front of unions in public administration (Frente Comum dos Sindicatos da Administração Pública, FC) where is included the National Federation of public sector trade unions (Federação Nacional dos Sindicatos da Função Pública, FNSFP ) and other unions affiliated in the CGTP-IN.
  • The second group is constituted by unions that belong to UGT and/or to UGT’s federations in the public sector, namely the Union Federation of the Public Administration (Federação de Sindicatos da Administração Pública, FESAP) and the National Federation of Education (Federação Nacional de Educação, FNE).
  • A third group of organisations (mostly representing small specific occupational groups or services) is not related to any confederation or coordinating body linked to one of the two confederations recognized as social partner (CGTP or UGT).

We present the unions in three tables, according to their affiliation.

Table 5.1.Trade unions belonging to the Common Front (FC) close to CGTP)
Union Affiliation Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present

Membership

Total

STFPSA

STFPN

STFPZC

FC/FNSFP/CGTP

Public servants

Central

40,000

18,000

14,000

SPGL

SPN

SPRC

SPZS

FC/ FENPROF

Teachers

.

Central/

Ministry of Education

18,200

13,600

10,600

5,100

Sindicato dos Inspectores do Ensino

FC

education (inspection service)

n.d.

SEP

FC/CGTP

Nurses

Central/

Ministry of Health

19,000

SMZS

SMZC

FC/FNAM

Physicians

3,000

800

SIFAP

.

FC

Pharmacies and Paramedics

2,000

SNP

Psychologists

n.d.

SFP

Physiotherapists

n.d.

STCS

Scientific Staff and Technicians in Health

n.d.

SFJ

Judicial officers

Central/

Ministry of Justice

3,500

SNCGP

Prison Guards

2,800

ASFTAO/PJ

Policemen

400

STCDE

FC/FNSFP

Diplomatic Service

Central/MNE

800

SIRA

.

FC

Veterinarians

Central /MADRP

200

SINSEF

Home Office (immigration office)

Central / Home Office

n.d.

Sindicato dos Funcionários Parlamentares

Parliament employees

Central/ Parliament

200

STEFFAS-

production and maintenance of material)

Central/ MDN

800

Total

     

153,000

Sectoral union density

-

-

-

19.8%

Table 5.2. Trade unions belonging to the “FESAP” (close to UGT) and/or to UGT
Union Affiliation Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present Membership
Total

SINTAP

FESAP/UGT

Public servants

Central

14,000

STE

UGT

Management and technical staff in the State

Central

4,000

FNE

FESAP

Education

Central/

Ministry of Education

(Sum of affiliated unions)

SPZN

FESAP/FNE

Teachers

10,500

SPZC

FESAP/FNE

Teachers

8,400

SINDEP

FESAP/UGT

Teachers

4,200

SINAPE

FESAP/UGT

Teachers

2,100

SDPSul-

FNE

Teachers

2,000

SDPGL

FNE

Teachers

1,900

         

FETESE

FESAP/UGT

Administrative Staff and Workers in Commerce and Services

Central

n.d.

SITESC

FESAP/UGT

Administrative Staff and Workers in Commerce and Services

Central

n.d.

SEN

 

Nurses

Central /

Ministry of Health

3,000

SINDITE

FESAP/UGT

Diagnostic and therapy Technicians

n.d.

SETAA

FESAP/UGT

Agriculture, Food and Beverages Industry

Central /MADRP/MEI

n.d.

SETACOOP

FESAP/UGT

Construction and related services

 

n.d.

ASTSP

FESAP/UGT

Prison Service

Central/MJ

n.d.

Total

-

 

-

50,100

Sectoral union density

-

 

-

6.5%

Table 5.3 Trade unions not belonging to any coordinating body linked to one of the confederations (CGTP or UGT)
Union

Affiliation

-

Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present Membership
Total

SPLIU

.

Teachers

.

Central/

Ministry of Education

7,900

SNPL

4,800

SEPLEU

4,500

ASPL

4,000

Pró-Ordem-Sindicato dos Professores

2,800

SIPPEB

1,600

SIPE

900

SMZN

Physicians

.

Central /

Ministry of Health

1,200

SIM

n.d.

STSSSS

Health and Social Security workers

1,000

STI

Tax officials

 

200

SMMP

Prosecutors

Central/

Ministry of Justice

500

STRN

Notary services

700

ASFIC/PJ

Policemen (criminal investigation)

700

ASP/PSP

Policemen

5,000

Total

-

 

-

36,500

Sectoral union density

-

 

-

4.7%

Sources: CGTP and UGT member-lists, Frente Comum member list, Union data base Stoleroff/Naumann

Please provide information on the diffusion within the central government sector of craft unions, professional unions, or unions which are not affiliated to peak associations.

See initial comment, separated lists and column regarding type of domain

Are there any formal procedures or rules which aim to assess the representativeness of the various unions? If yes, please, briefly illustrate the content of such procedures or rules. Do these procedures or rules affect the access of the various unions to trade union prerogatives or to the bargaining table? If yes, please specify such limitations.

There are no procedures or rules which aim to assess the representativeness of the various unions, with only one recent exception. In 2006, the Ministry of Education carried out a general study in order to assess the number of members of the teachers’ unions. The result of this study served as the basis for the redistribution of the teachers released for work as union officials.

5. Employer representation

Please provide information on:

Who does represent the central government at the bargaining table? Are there specific independent bodies, such as agencies, or negotiations are carried out under the responsibility of political actors, such as ministers?

Negotiations are carried out under the responsibility of ministers. The general round on public sector yearly wage increase (which is transversal to all sectors) is carried out under the responsibility of the minister of finances; but the specific negotiations or particular statutes are carried out under the responsibility of the minister of the respective sector. For instance the negotiation of the Basic and Secondary Education Statute is carried out under the responsibility of the minister of Education, the negotiation nurses’ career is carried out under the responsibility of the minister of Health.

If negotiations are carried out by specific independent bodies, please indicate how they are organised. In particular, specify whether there are guidelines or other directives set by political actors and how the tasks of the independent bodies are carried out. For instance, negotiations have to follow specific stages?

There are not negotiations carried out by special bodies.

If negotiations are carried under the direct responsibility of political actors, please indicate how they are organised. For instance, do negotiations take place under the responsibility of a single ministry, for instance the Finance Ministry, or are they carried out by a delegation or in a different way?

Answered in point 1.

Do collective agreements in the central government sector have to pass an ex-post “validation” procedure, for instance to certify their compliance with budget constraints? If present, please briefly illustrate such procedure and the consequences of failure to pass it.

The government and in the particular the minister of finances and the ministers that carry out specific negotiations of particular statutes consider budget constraints in all economic aspects involved in the negotiations.

6. Collective bargaining and conflict in central government

Please provide information on:

The structure of collective bargaining and, in particular, the number and scope of bargaining units, both at central (national) and decentralised (workplace and territorial) levels.

Negotiation on wages and on transversal rules applied to all public servants and public agents are carried out at central level in a single unit where national, regional, local and sectoral occupational/functional areas are involved (including all the trade unions). The government negotiates with three separate tables, which composition is related with the trade-unions affiliation: one table includes the Common Front of Unions in Public Administration (Frente Comum) linked to CGTP; another table includes the Union Federation of the Public Administration, FESAP linked to UGT; and another one includes the Union of State technical Staff (Sindicato dos Quadros Técnicos do Estado, STE).

Separate negotiations not related with wage increase can take place over other issues at the sectoral level (health and education for instance) where the units are related with the specific statutes under discussion.

The duration of agreements and the presence and content of peace obligations.

As explained before there are not collective agreements in the public sector. Negotiations on wages take place every year in relation with trade-union demands.

The main issues of collective bargaining by referring to the latest renewals.

There is not the concept of renewal as such. The main issues of negotiations in the last years concerned wages, the right to negotiation, employment stability and employment status, careers, mobility, working time pension and retirement schemes.

Levels and recent trends in conflict. The more important and encompassing agreement in the public sector was established in 1996, under the governance of the Socialist Party, which was signed by all trade unions represented in the public sector (independently of their affiliation). Wages and pensions increase, revocation of the law on exceeding personnel (disponíveis), increase in the pensions and health funds, participation of the trade unions in the consultation bodies of the Pensions Fund and Health protection System (ADSE) were major achievements of the agreement. Furthermore many other issues started to be discussed having positive consequences like the revision of the law on collective bargaining.

After this successful agreement negotiations have been over the years very unstable and conflicts have been arising frequently. The last three years there was not any agreement between the trade unions and the government on wages. The rules had been set by unilateral decision of the government after strong disagreements and conflicts with the trade unions.

Regarding other issues the last three years showed some evolution. The introduction of the program for individual performance evaluation of public employees, known as SIADAP, (PT0309101N) and the individual contracts within the public sector divided the trade unions. The FESAP of UGT reached an agreement with the PSD government on those issues, while the Common Front /CGTP and STE were opposed.

By July 6, 2006, following the legislative introduction of the Programme for restructuring central public administration (Programa de Reestruturação da Administração Central do Estado, PRACE (PT0605019I) and the law on mobility or transferability of public servants (Regime de Mobilidade dos Funcionários da Administração Pública), the three union fronts in the public sector were united in a general strike of the sector (PT0607039I).

Besides these general issues, trade unions went on strike in relation to specific statutes, as it is the case with the revision of the career statute for pre-school instructors and teachers of primary and secondary level (PT0608029I). Teachers Trade unions organised a demonstration/march in Lisbon in the 5th October and called for a two days strike in the 17th and 18th of October, which participation was estimated by the trade unions in 85%.

The presence and main features of forms of regulation of labour conflict and collective dispute resolution procedures. Please indicate whether such rules are specific to the central government sector, or apply to the whole public sector, or are general and cover both public and private sectors.

The rules in public sector have already been explained above. They differ clearly from private sector, where the Labour Code defines the conditions to deal with conflict. Furthermore collective agreements define the regulations, including in relation to conflict resolution.

7. Commentary by the NC

Please:

Specify the main issues on the agenda of industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.

The main issues on the agenda of industrial relations in the public sector regard the restructuring of central public administration (PRACE) (PT0605019I) and the law on mobility or transferability of public servants, which is considered a central tool for implementing the government’s ambitious restructuring plan. A special mobility scheme is being designed for public servants who are affected by the curtailing, merging or restructuring of services, or by measures to rationalise human resources.

If they are not transferred to a new workplace, the workers are given a special mobility status (situação de mobilidade especial). In the first 60-day period of transition, they keep their basic income. During the following 10 months, during which further training is provided, their income is reduced by one sixth. After re-qualification, these public servants then enter a period of ‘compensation’: their basic income is reduced by one third and they are allowed to take on work in the private sector. The special mobility status ends if the respective workers reinitiate their activity in central public administration, if they take unpaid leave, if they retire or if they are expelled by disciplinary means from central administration. (PT0607039I).

Furthermore, wage moderation, frozen careers, and the changes in retirement and pension benefits are also part of the agenda.

Cover any further issues which are relevant in your country but have not been covered by previous questions.

In relation to total employment the part of public employment has been stable, comparing the data from 2005 (14. 6%) and 1999 (14. 8%). The comparative data from OECD shows that in Portugal the share of public employment is under the EU average. However, the Portuguese government maintains the goal to reduce by 75, 000 the number of public employees. One of the arguments is that the expenses with personnel represent 14.5% of the GDP against the average of 12% in the EU.

Provide your own comments on industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.

The intensification of reforms in public sector is linked with the aim of reducing and rationalising public sector, and the solutions adopted are clearly subordinated to meet the goal of reducing public expenses. New public management philosophy is implicit in the overall project, in particular, regarding individual labour contracts, careers development, and mobility. However the concrete measures such as the regime of mobility linked to the restructuring reform can pave the way to increased instability and dysfunctions in the sector. Furthermore the goal of reducing public employment can be very problematic when in the private sector the crisis is not overcome to compensate the jobs that can be lost in the public sector. In this context it seems understandable the concern of the trade unions with the quality of the public service and the social consequences of this ongoing process.

Maria da Paz Campos Lima, DINAMIA

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