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Diálogo of Regional de Políticas Comparative Analysis Labor Relations in the

Latin American Public Administration

By José Alberto Bonifacio and Graciela Falivene with the cooperation of CLAD

Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru

Objective of the Study

To perform a comparative analysis of labor relations in the Public Administration over the last decade, in Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.

Methodological Aspects (1)

Scope of the Study Labor relations that affect civilian personnel of the public service in three specific areas of government activity: 

a) national, centralized and decentralized administration b) health sector c) education sector

Scope of the Study Total Public Employment Foreign Service Employees

General Government

Armed Forces

Total Civilian Central Government Employment

Subnational Government Employment







Civilian Central Government Employment (excluding education, health, and police)**

Civilian Suibnational Government Employment (excluding education, health, and police)**

Usually referred to as the Civil Service

Permanent Employees

Permanent Employees

Contractual Employees

Temporary Employees

Temporary Employees

Methodological Aspects (2) 


Field work including interviews with key players  

Labor relations experts in the public sector State participants in labor relations: human resources; administrative career track; government reform; budget and control; dispute negotiators; union or guild relations Participants from labor, union representatives from health, education and the central administration selected for their “representativeness.”

Secondary Information   

general and specialized bibliography official reports and documents, information from public and private institutions available on the Internet.

Structure of the Study 

Conceptual underpinnings

Chapters on labor relations in each country   

Public employment

Labor representatives

State representatives

  

Rules, procedures and practices Content of labor relations and negotiation The “relacional” framework: negociation, disputes, and arbitration

Conclusions    

Institutional context, reform policies, and the labor market Labor relations actors

Salient characteristics of each case Central questions Indice of Labor Relations Development Emerging phenomena and best practices

Annexes    

Constitutional framework Normative history Relevant legislation Economic, social, and labor indicators of each country

Institutional Processes: Three Scenarios Mexico and Peru

Institutional changes and the inclusion of new social actors and new rules of the game


Institutional crises that affect and determine the development of the labor sphere

Costa Rica

Institutional continuity

Reform and Public Employment Impact of Labor Relations on: 

Reduction of employment posts

Reduction of salaries

Decentralization and transfer of services

Fusion or suppression of public entities


Trends in Employment Stability 

Job stability established on the constitutional level

Limited stability due to restructuring or economic necessity

Retirement incentives through compensation (“voluntary retirement” programs)

Decreasing demand by the State for human resources within the labor market

Job growth and increased stability in the education and health sectors due to greater demand

Total public employment relative to the economically active population in Argentina, Costa Rica and Mexico (1995-1999, in percentages) 16 14

Public Employment/EAP Mexico



10 Costa Rica 8 6

Public Employment/Population


4 Mexico

Costa Rica

2 0 1995





Disputes 

Reduction of employment posts and wage adjustments have been accompanied by disputes.

Resistance is related to the degree of organization and unionization.

Past legislation restricted strikes in the public services.

The constitution of each of the four countries recognizes the right of workers to strike, conditioned by the facts that:  

There are public service groups for which strikes are not permitted This limitation is applicable to “essential services.”

Unionization 

Unionization usually higher in the public sector than in the private.

A wide range of variation in unionization rates (42% compared to 15%).

In some countries, broader rights to unionization than in others.

Recognition through negotiation of guild organizations that are not unions.

Multiple representative entities in a single institutional sphere.

In Mexico, limitation to one union per department or institution.

In Peru, dismantling of the government guilds.

Government authority, used as a policy intervention tool, to decide whether or not to grant legal recognition to guilds.

Government attitude on recognizing “guild privilege.”

Decentralization of the government and union fragmentation in the education and health sectors.

Unilateralism and negotiation 

The most institutional flexibility for negotiation was observed in Argentina.

In Peru, the representation of the labor sector as a player was practically eliminated.

In Costa Rica, government institutions showed less inclination to formally “laborize” employment relationships.

In Mexico, the union and the federation alone are the primary inflexible elements.

In fact or by law, when negotiations result in the commitment of economic resources, the government decides unilaterally on the result.

Greater opening to admit agreements or de facto collective bargaining, which suppresses the veto power of a higher authority.

Conflict between “laborizing” labor relations in the decentralized public sector and resistance to abandoning the unilateral tradition of centralized administration.

No necessary relationship exists between negotiation and rigid overprotection of employment, different from the conditions in force in the labor market.

Wage agreements between companies and unions in the private sector serve as a reference for public sector wage policy in Costa Rica.

Index of Labor Relations Development Sum of values for each variable (12 cases) Sectorial linkage Collective bargaining Professionalizaion Joint responsibility for management Union freedom Interal transparency Intergrated personnel system External transparency Dialogue Permanent Employment 0







Index of Labor Relations Development Values by country and by sector 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0


Costa Rica

Central Admin.





Emergent Phenomena and Best Practices 

The existence of an integrated and highly institutionalized human resources system that facilitates the development of labor relations and of management.

Salary negotiations help make public sector policy compatible with that of the private sector, (through participatory committees), which provides transparency and equality.

New rules of the game in labor relations, with collective bargaining maintained in the public context in particular and not through common employment agreements, that are able to incorporate the concepts of flexibility, polyvalence and professionalism.

A strategy of change that considers the human resources network to be the driving force of professionalism, which can reformulate the use of political discretion and change the nature of political appointees.

The institutionalization of a space for dialogue, where the public and private sectors participate together to reach reform agreements, avoids fractures in the process of establishing new rules of the game in labor relations.

The experience of social participation is emphasized in the process of establishing rules for teaching applicants.

The combination of these phenomena, some already consolidated and others incipient, provides a propitious institutional context for constructive labor relations.

Conclusions 

The two parties of the labor relationship in the public sector are conditioned, by adopting positions during negotiations and disputes, to address the concerns of users and the general interest. They do this in order to obtain the support of public opinion and thus strengthen their respective legitimacy.

The strategies that they adopt necessarily take into account the formation of alliances and the transparency of aspectos reivindicativos, at the same time taking into account a commitment to public management.

All of these factors are reinforced by the level of institutionalization of dialogue.

Union freedoms and joint responsibility for management within a more transparent framework for agreements, reinforces constructive labor relations.

The absence of a single legal framework for employment in the public sector adds to the fact that the government itself is frequently not the only employer. Rather, different entities act autonomously in personnel matters, which hinders a coherent human resources administration system.

There should be no restriction to developing administration and personnel policy systems that are more integrated than those currently available.

More transparent labor relations can give rise to a more professional public administration, centered on merit as a prerequisite for entry and promotion in public service.

Structure of Employment in the Four Countries Peru (1998)



39% 54%

46% 7%

sector informal empleo publico


45% 40%

sector formal empleo privado


sector informal empleo publico

Costa Rica


38% 49%


sector informal empleo publico

13% sector formal empleo privado


sector formal empleo privado


38% 47%


sector informal empleo publico


sector formal empleo privado

Diálogo of Regional de Políticas Comparative Analysis Labor Relations in the

Latin American Public Administration

By José Alberto Bonifacio and Graciela Falivene with the cooperation of CLAD

Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru

comparative analysis of labor relations in the latin american public administration: argentina, c...  

this presentation was offered in the 2nd hemispheric meeting of the public management and transparency network of the regional policy dialog...