Trade Union Renewal in Chile: A case study analysis and comparison of the challenges and prospects facing company-level trade unions in the food manufacturing and beverage sector

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Daina Bellido De Luna Mayea

Abstract

The thesis evaluates the revitalisation strategies developed by a range of company-trade unions embedded in three company case studies in the food-manufacturing industry in Chile. Most of the literature on revitalisation has been developed in the European and North American context, yet there does not seem to be a systematic body of literature documenting trade union renewal in the Latin American context. This thesis focuses on the Chilean context, as this can be an interesting country in which to evaluate the revitalisation efforts of trade unions at the company level mostly due to its tradition of trade unionism and a neo-liberal market economy. After the state implementation of extensive neo-liberal policies and union-weakening practices during the Pinochet regime in the 1970s, Chilean industrial relations has the potential to be an interesting case for researching revitalisation and the role of the institutional context. Therefore, the aim of the thesis is to understand how Chilean trade unions are coping with and responding to such challenges, while also understanding the role played by the Chilean political and economic context in such a process of renewal. The thesis attempts to understand how trade union strategies vary and why within such a context. Using comparative case study research, the findings suggest that although there are some similarities in the renewal strategies pursued by Chilean trade unions (such as labour-management partnership, member servicing and legal mobilisation) trade union revitalisation is a process that needs to be understood in what appears to be a fragmented context. The fragmentation of the labour movement, increasing levels of state intervention in the weakening of unions and an extensive isolation from other labour-related bodies are emphasised as the primary challenges facing Chilean trade unions in their path to renewal. Hence, within such national and workplace-level contexts, Chilean trade unions seemed to be engaging in a range of renewal activities, albeit constrained by the country’s institutions, regulations and employer practices. This research contributes to the international debate on trade union revitalisation and the importance of a range of de-collectivising strategies in framing such changes.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date1 Aug 2020