Nº33. Unable to shape the political arena: Job quality and union action in post-transition Chile
In this article we examine both the de jure and de facto conditions that have constrained union action since the 1970s in Chile –a country that pioneered the adoption of the neoliberal model in the world. Specifically, we analyse unfavourable legislation implemented during both the military regime (1973-1989) and democracy (1990-), and the effect of the flexibilisation of the formal labour market on unions. Rather than remaining passive, however, trade unions have reacted to the inauspicious political and institutional context in which they must operate through a combination of renewed mobilisation and industrial action. Based on interview material and newspaper data we first depict the revitalisation of union action among contract workers in the mining sector, which historically has been the stronghold of Chile’s trade union movement.
Using an original database for the years 1990-2015 that besides legal strikes also includes extra-legal strikes, we then show that there has been an upsurge of the latter. Finally, drawing on an emerging literature on legal mobilisation among unions, we point out the use of the Labour Inspection and courts as an additional mechanism through which unions have sought solve their demands.
Sehnbruch, K., Donoso, S. (2018). Unable to shape the political arena: job quality and union action in post-transition Chile. Serie Documentos de Trabajo COES, Documento de trabajo N°33, pp. 1-XX.