Case Study of trade union revitalization strategies in a manufacturing company in Chile

Daina Bellido De Luna Mayea

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

One of the key issues in trade unionism today is how to face labour-related challenges portrayed by neo-liberalism. Excessive employment flexibility paired with lower trade union membership rates and lower bargaining coverage leads to wonder what the role of trade unions is today. The main body literature outlines six traditional trade union’s strategies to cope with the current labour crisis: organizing, organizational restructuring, coalition building, social partnership, political action and international links. These strategies have been discussed mainly in relation to European and North American countries and there does not appear to be any ongoing discussion on the implementation of these and other strategies in Latin-American countries. One Latin-American country with particular history on the topic of trade unionism is Chile. Chile recently approved a labour reform that promised to strengthen and modernise the employment relations. This reform has been characterised by trade unions and workers as a setback in the way industrial relations were being conducted. In light of these issues, the purpose of this research is to identify the specific activities and practices implemented by a trade union in a manufacturing company in Chile to face the changes in the new organization of work. Using interviews from Chilean labour’s key informants in non-traditional sectors, a research on the trade unions reactions to the labour crisis and existing trends for revitalization and modernization of the Chilean labour movement was conducted. Preliminary results indicate Chilean trade unions are developing well planned activities related to these six and other dimensions in order to pursue revitalization. All the above mentioned allows to conclude Chilean trade unions are not only reacting but are also contributing to the international debate of how workers’ organizations are facing and coping with worldwide labour crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 4 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Trade union revitalization
  • Trade union strategy
  • Industrial relations
  • Workplace representation
  • Employee Representation

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