Workplace Report May 2021

European news

Portuguese government plans to extend bargaining to new areas

The Portuguese government has produced a new green paper on “The future of work 2021”, which after discussion in a tripartite body of unions, employers and government is expected to lead to new legislation.

The document, published on 31 March, is a response to the changing nature of employment, covering remote working and teleworking, platform work and so-called digital nomads, who can work anywhere with a fast internet connection.

It also looks at the specific challenges presented by these changes, including the impact of artificial intelligence, data protection, work-life balance and the right to disconnect, the impact on equality and representation structures and collective bargaining for those working in new ways.

On bargaining, the green paper proposes extending coverage to new categories of workers, such as those who have been outsourced, and those who are economically dependent self-employed, particularly those who work for platforms. It also says that bargaining generally should be strengthened, by linking government support to the existence of collective agreements.

The UGT union confederation has responded positively to the proposals in the green paper. However, the larger and more militant CGTP confederation believes that the document does not go far enough. Its general secretary, Isabel Camarinha, said: “Good intentions are not enough to win the fight against precarious employment. It is necessary to repeal the legislation that permits it.”