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10. Trade Unions and Employers Associations

Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations

All employers and employees are mandatorily represented by their respective union. The unions that will represent the employer and its employees are linked to the activities performed by the company in each city or state.

Rights and Importance of Trade Unions

Unions can negotiate on behalf of the employers and employees and execute collective bargaining agreements. Collective bargaining agreements are instruments executed between the unions representing employers and employees for purposes of establishing general and normative rules that govern the relationship of a given category of employers and employees. The terms and conditions negotiated by the unions are mandatory and cover the employers and employees of the category.

An employer may also negotiate a specific collective bargaining agreement, applicable to its employees, directly with the employees’ union.

There are some matters that can only be implemented by means of a collective bargaining agreement such as an offsetting of a working hours system and profit/result sharing program.

Types of Representation

Number of Representatives

As per the Labour Code, companies with more than 200 employees may elect an employees’ representative committee in order to improve communications between employer and employees.

In accordance with the Labour Reform, the employees’ committee should be composed as follows:

  • 3 committee members for companies with more than 200 and up to 3,000 employees;
  • 5 committee members for companies with more than 3,000 and up to 5,000 employees; and
  • 7 committee members for companies with more than 5,000 employees.

Appointment of Representatives

The election date of the committee must be communicated at least thirty days in advance, counted from the end of the previous mandate, by means of a public notice that must be fixed in the company and enable the employees to enrol themselves as candidates.

The election committee shall be composed of 5 employees who are not candidates, in order to organise and monitor the election procedure. Employees hired on a fixed term, with the employment agreement suspended or who are in a notice period, even indemnified, cannot be candidates.

The members of the employees’ committee have job stability, as of the register of their candidacy, up to 1 year after the end of the mandate. Such members cannot suffer arbitrary termination. In other words, they cannot be terminated if their termination is not based on a disciplinary, technical, economic or financial reason.

Tasks and Obligations of Representatives

The members of the employees’ committee have the following tasks/duties:

  • represent the employees before the Board of Directors of the company;
  • improve the relationship between the company and its employees based on the principles of good faith and mutual respect;
  • promote dialogue and understanding in the workplace in order to prevent conflicts;
  • seek solutions to the conflicts arising from the employment relationship, in a fast and efficient way, aimed at the effective application of legal and contractual norms;
  • ensure fair and impartial treatment of employees, preventing any form of discrimination based on sex, age, religion, political opinion or union activity;
  • forward specific claims of the employees of their scope of representation; and
  • monitor the compliance with labour and social security norms and the collective bargaining agreements.

Employees’ Representation in Management

As mentioned, the members of the employees’ committee have the duty of representing the employees before the Board of Directors.

In addition, Law 12.353/10 defines those public entities with more than 200 employees must elect an employees’ representative to occupy a position and represent them on the Board of Directors. Such representative must be elected among the other employees, in an election with the participation of a member of the representative Union.

Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies

Depending on the number of employees and the risk degree of the employer’s facility activity, the employer must have an Internal Commission for Accident Avoidance (“CIPA”), composed of both employee and employer representatives. Individuals elected as employee representative members of CIPA (either as full or alternate members) may not be terminated from the date of their registration as candidates for such position up to 1 (one) year after the expiration of their one-year term-in-office.

Also, depending on the number of employees and the risk degree of the employer’s facility activity, the employer must implement a Specialized Safety Engineering and Occupational Medicine (“SESMT”), which is a team of health and safety professionals hired by the employer.

Any questions

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