Social dialogue in updating labor relations and
Dagoberto Lima Godoy
August 23th, 2011
7th Regional Congress of the Americas of Ilera
5th Ibret Brazilian Conference of Labor and
Why updating LR systems?
• Worldwide, the more regulation increases, greater is the
• ILO’s protectionist international labor standards are no longer
effective (being in many cases accused of contributing for
unemployment and hardening of labor relations).
• Mechanisms of social dialogue - though certainly a more
reasonable alternative - have not achieved more than a
mitigation of the conflict.
Two faces of an ILO’s truth
(and of the nowadays reality’s)
“Labor is not a commodity”
ILO’s Philadelphia Declaration, 1944.
“... the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labor
is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to
improve the conditions in their own countries;”
ILO’s Constitution, 1919.
What they don’t assume (on human labor)
Leftist politicians and
Social Dialogue scope
SD do not compete with classic parliamentary democracy, but
complements it; it can only be fully effective in a democracy.
SD is not inconsistent with market economy, even strengthening
it, pacifying the world of work and thus contributing to improve
business and investment environment.
SD is not an end in itself but a tool to deal with various economic
and social problems.
SD must be based on mutual trust, built over many years of
cooperation in good faith.
Source: Richly & Pritzer, 2003.
[Labor relations and unemployment attract the interest of the so-
called civil society organizations, leading to an increased NGOs’
pressure for participation in discussions on possible solutions.]
Social Dialogue concepts
Concept Interlocutors Forms
Tripartite or bipartite
Official or non-official
regional or business
Latu senso Governmental and Public
Official or non-official
regional or local
Without denying that civil society (CS) constitutes a fundamental factor for
improving the contemporary democratic process, the complexity and specificity
of labor relations (LR) recommend a cautious and responsible insertion of the
CS in the SD, to be ensured to employers, workers and government the central
roles every time LR is the issue.
The indispensable balance
“To respond to the challenges of globalization, climate changes,
technological advances and an aging population, an effective social
dialogue should also increase the adaptability of workers and
employers and combine a high level of employers
competitiveness with a good environment for workers creation."
ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation), BUSINESSEUROPE (Confederation of
European Business), CEEP (European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation
and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest) and UEAPM (Union Européene de
l’Artisanat et des Petites y Moyennes Entreprises). In “Key challenges facing european
labour markets: a joint analysis of European social partners”.
Essential elements of flexicurity
• Labor legislation and funding that can facilitate access to labor market
in satisfying jobs.
• Effective and high quality ALMPs, with investment in people and
support to drive changes in a productive direction.
• Policies for lifelong learning to ensure the employability of workers,
increasing their skills and qualifications.
• Efficient and sustainable social protection systems, which
provide a guaranteed income support and promote integration in labor market.
• Social dialogue that contributes to a negotiated balance between flexibility
and security, providing the "smooth functioning” of labor market and adaptability of
workers and employers.
Source: ETUC et al, 2007
Preconditions for flexicurity
• Secure macroeconomic policies and
favorable environment for business,
which enable and support growth full potential and
ensure the necessary financial base for public
services and labor market policies.
• Good working conditions and quality
jobs, defined as those that ensure safety to career
and employment, maintaining and promoting workers
health and welfare, developing their skills and
reconciling work and personal life. In addition, it is
also important remuneration, equality and diversity at
• Free, independent, democratic and
representative organizations of
employers and employees.
Sources: ETUC et al, 2007; Richly & Pritzer, 2003.
Fundamental aspects in the wake of flexicurity in Brazil - I
1 - There are no models to be strictly followed. Flexicurity has his roots
in the secular European culture that have little to do with Brazilian
experience (despite being in Europe the roots of our Labor Law).
2 - Tripartite Social Dialogue has an institutional space in EU. In
Brazil, SD did not succeed in getting freed from State
predominance - not to say, from government - due to a trade union
system too much dependent on the State.
3 - Flexicurity involves a paradigm shift with regard to responsibility for
workers safety, which is replacing the principle of "job security"
for "security in the labor market“.
Fundamental aspects in the wake of flexicurity in Brazil - II
4 - Brazilian labor legislation is more liberal than those of Europe,
specially on freedom for contract and dismiss. On the other hand, it
is quite generous with regard to protection of the worker, even when
compared to the European reality.
5 – Notwithstanding to remain few spots to be filled in terms of business
management flexibility and social security, they are crucial to
improve flexicurity and to allow Brazilian economy improving their
7 - Along with the need to ensure legal certainty for contracts, a shift is
need from the statutory system for another one based on collective
bargaining, in terms of conflicts resolution, as a requisite for more
confident and fluid labor relations.
At last ...
“Whereas universal and lasting peace can be
established only if it is based upon social justice.”
ILO’s Constitution, 1919.
Social justice is not a divine gift, but the prize reserved
to societies which have showed competence to
produce wealth and wisdom to fairly distribute it.
Thanks for you attention!