Chapter 10: Trajectories of collective bargaining in Denmark and Portugal: from national determined ‘organized IR’ to supra national determined ‘disorganized IR’?

By Maria da Paz Campos Lima and Carsten Jørgensen

Although the Danish system of collective bargaining was under stress during the economic crisis its basic institutions remained in place assuring inclusiveness and coordination, and giving room for recovery. On the contrary, in Portugal, the institutions that secured the role of sector bargaining, providing coordination and inclusiveness, were dismantled during the  Troika intervention (2011-2014), under the right-wing government. In particular, political measures limiting the extension of collective agreements and reducing the period of validity of agreements had an important negative impact in quantitative and qualitative terms.

While in Denmark, collective bargaining focused on wage moderation In the public sector, it  was the government  Portugal that decided unilaterally to cut down nominal wages and increase weekly working time from 35 to 40 hours, without equivalent payment.

All in all, the divergence between the systems of collective bargaining in the two countries increased due to the ‘authoritarian deregulation’ externally driven in Portugal and the resilience of joint regulation in Denmark.

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