Changing industrial relations in Brazil : developments in collective bargaining in Rio Grande do Sul, 1978-1991
In this research I am concerned with the nature of the evolution of industrial relations in Brazil between 1978 and 1991. I test whether the state corporatist system established in the thirties was dead by the early nineties and was replaced by a model that was pluralist by nature, whether it was in transition toward pluralism, or whether it was not dead. I am based on the assumption that key features of a system are expressed in the role played by collective bargaining in the regulation of industrial relations The specific question I address is whether or not, and to what extent, collective bargaining developed in Rio Grande do Sul during the 1978-1991 period and what its significance is. I also assess the impact of the changes in the political and economic environments on the evolution of bargaining. I draw my conclusions from the analysis of the records collected in the files of the Ministry of Labour, of the Labour Courts, as well as of collective agreements established in the engineering industry of the Greater Porto Alegre region. I also use statements collected in interviews held with representatives of trade unions, of employer associations, of the Ministry of Labour, of the Labour Courts, and of a union consultancy agency. The outcome of my research is that, in the early nineties, Brazilian industrial relations could no longer be characterised as state corporatist, and neither could it be defined as a pluralist system. Moreover, I have also concluded that neither was it in transition towards pluralism. I rather decided that it should be called statutory-bargained system. Another outcome of this study is that although political liberalisation favoured the progress of negotiations, the economic downturn of the eighties hindered its further development.