Trajectories of trade union-political party relationships in Portugal under democracy
ECPR 2016 Research Sessions, Nijmegen
Países Baixos (Holanda)
Consistent with patterns to be found in other Southern European countries, the role of the state in the Portuguese industrial relations system has necessarily placed politics (through legislative and executive action) in the center of the labor regulation process, thereby increasing the importance of political struggle as a locus of trade union action. Mobilization to put pressure on government is therefore crucial, if not pivotal, for trade union strategy and, as a consequence, the relationships between the trade unions and political parties are particularly influential for the outcomes sought by labor. This paper will explore the evolution of the relationship of the Portuguese union confederations with political parties looking at the parallels in the evolution of the party form and labor unions. To do so, in the context of this seminar, it will attempt to apply the scheme of Katz and Mair (1995, 2009) to the development of the relevant Portuguese political parties and raise a series of derivative questions. As put forward by Katz and Mair, the cartel party thesis concerns the evolution of inter-party competition or collusion. Although the Portuguese union confederations are formally autonomous of political parties, their relationships over the 40+ years of democracy have generally been determinant. As such the logic of ideological and political competition continues to characterize their programs and action. Thus the relationships between political parties have been over time crucial for shaping the relationships between the union confederations. The primary question for this paper then becomes the parallelism and influence of party cartelization upon union competition or collusion in the progressive phases of development of Portuguese industrial relations.
trade union-political party relations, Portuguese industrial relations, political trade unionism