chapter  14
21 Pages



Like Greece and Spain, Portugal saw a rather late coming of democracy after World War II, when a military coup did away with the authoritarian regime in 1974. Unlike the two other countries, however, the transformation resulted in a revolutionary mass mobilization under the hegemony of the left wing of the labour movement. This had a twofold effect on organized interests, the state and their relationships (Barreto and Naumann 1998). On the one hand, the nationalization of banks, insurance companies, large parts of infrastructure (energy, transport, telecommunications) and some important industries (steel, chemical, etc.) in 1975 changed inter-class power relations in favour of labour. At the same time cornering business and its associations developed in an adversarial climate. This led to an accentuated imbalance in collective bargaining and to the creation of a collective bargaining system that was not based on a balanced compromise between capital and labour. In the second part of the democratic transition (1980s) power relations changed in favour of employers, resulting in deadlocks in collective bargaining that provoked stagnation in the bargaining process and continued state intervention. In connection with the nationalization of key sectors, the state obtained the key role in economy and society during the early transformation process which ended in the late 1970s. Economic problems, namely growing unemployment, and the rise of centrist political forces changed the confi guration of class forces in a way that fostered accommodation to the institutional patterns typical of the capitalist democracies in Western Europe. The role of the state declined accordingly. In the fi eld of industrial relations, this reinforced the deadlock in collective bargaining and the formation of tripartism, as formalized in the Permanent Council of Social Concertation (Conselho Permanente de Concertação Social, CPCS). In the case of the economy, the retreat of the state culminated in extensive (re)privatization starting in the late 1980s. Portugal’s accession to the European Community in 1986 marked the irreversible character of this process.