By Maurício Rands Barros (auth.)
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Extra resources for Labour Relations and the New Unionism in Contemporary Brazil
Apart from the structural reasons connected with labour turnover and the employers' calculus as they were just outlined, the role of unions in explaining such an expansion is also relevant in that they impelled millions of workers to take their employers to the courts in pursuit of overdue wages in connection with the stabilisation programmes enacted in that period. Unions often sponsored large groups of workers, often the whole labour force under their representation, to demand wage readjustments required by the government manipulation of official figures for inflation rates on the occasion of the launching of the stabilisation programmes and the consequent change of the legally enforced income policies.
The federation, usually covering the area of one state of the Brazilian federation, gathered five or more unions. The third one, the confederation, was The Brazilian System of Labour Relations 19 expected to represent the interests of the categories which integrate one branch of the economy (transport, industry, commerce or agriculture, for instance). To be recognised, a confederation had to muster three or more federations. It is worth stressing that no horizontal structure was permitted. The possibility of constructing a general central confederation representing all the working class was outlawed, given the assumptions that the general interests have to be provided by the State.
Equally, partisan activity was strictly forbidden. 3 The Union Tax Financial support was provided by the state-imposed trade union tax, through compulsory payroll deduction applied to all members of the category, irrespective of voluntary affiliation to the union. Accordingly, all workers under an employment relationship were obliged once a year to pay one working day's wage or salary to the union structure. The impact on unions' life of such revenues provided by the State is quite profound. 4 Before the 1988 Constitution, the expenditure of resources derived from the union tax was tightly controlled by the State through enforcement of article 592 of 'CLT'.
Labour Relations and the New Unionism in Contemporary Brazil by Maurício Rands Barros (auth.)