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Constitution of the Portuguese Republic


Article 54 (Workers' committees) (1). Workers have the right to establish workers' committees for the defence of their interests and to secure a democratic share in the management of their enterprise. (2) Decisions to form workers’ committees shall be taken by the workers in question, who shall approve the committees’ by-laws and shall elect their members by direct, secret ballot. (3) Coordinating committees may be established, for the purpose of intervening more effectively in economic reorganisation and as a safeguard for the guarantees for the interests of the workers. (4) Committee members shall enjoy the protection afforded by the law to trade union delegates. (5) Workers' committees have the right: (a) To receive all information necessary for the carrying out of their activities; (b) To monitor the management of enterprises; (c) To participate in the processes of the company restructuring, particularly as they relate to training initiatives or when there is a change in working conditions; (d) To participate in the preparation of labour legislation, and social and economic plans, that concern their sector; (e) To manage, or participate in the management of, social activities of enterprises; (f) To sponsor the election of workers' representatives to the management organs of enterprises that belong to the State or other public bodies, in accordance with the law. Article 55 (Freedoms concerning trade unions) (1) Workers shall be free to form and operate trade unions as a condition and guarantee of the building of their unity in defence of their rights and interests. (2) In exercising their freedom to form and operate trade unions, workers shall particularly be guaranteed the following, without any discrimination: (a) Freedom to form trade unions at every level; (b) Freedom of membership. No worker shall be obliged to pay dues to a union to which he does not belong; (c) Freedom to determine the organisation and internal regulations of trade unions; (d) The right to engage in trade union activities in businesses; (e) The right to political views, in the forms laid down in the respective by-laws. (3) Trade unions shall be governed by the principles of democratic organisation and management, to be based on periodic elections of their managing bodies by secret ballot, without the need for any authorisation or homologation, and shall be founded on active worker participation in every aspect of trade union activity. (4) Trade unions shall be independent of employers, the state, religious denominations, and parties and other political associations, and the law shall lay down such guarantees as may be appropriate to that independence, which is fundamental to the unity of the working classes. (5) Trade unions shall possess the right to establish relations with or join international trade union organisations. (6) Workers’ elected representatives shall enjoy the right to be informed and consulted, as well as to adequate legal protection against any form of subjection to conditions, constraints or limitations in the legitimate exercise of their functions. Article 56 (Trade union rights and collective agreements) 1. Trade unions have the competence to defend and promote the defence of the rights and interests of the workers they represent. 2. Trade unions have the right: a) To take part in drawing up labour legislation; b) To take part in the management of social security institutions and other organisations that seek to fulfil workers’ interests; c) To pronounce themselves on economic and social plans and monitor their implementation; d) To be represented on social concertation bodies, as laid down by law; e) To take part in corporate restructuring processes, especially with regard to training actions or when working conditions are altered.