Labour reform in a neo-liberal 'protected' democracy: Chile 1990-2001
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This paper analyses the direction and degree of labour reform in Chile since the restoration of democracy in 1990 after seventeen years of military dictatorship. The regime of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-90) adopted a highly repressive political character and implemented neo-liberal economic policies, which, together with the institutional restructuring that accompanied them, transformed vast sectors of Chilean society. The 1979 Labour Plan significantly changed the character of industrial relations legislation and the roles and balance of power among social actors, transforming the way in which industrial relations had been conducted since the 1920s. We argue that, despite more than a decade since the restoration of democracy, and after several rounds of reform, the current legislation presents remarkable continuity with the one enacted under authoritarianism, contradicting claims that profound change has been achieved. In attempting to explain the direction and degree of the so-called Transition's Labour Reforms, we emphasize the importance of political-economy approaches. We explore the conservative nature of the Chilean transition to democracy, the continuity of the neo-liberal economic model and the increasing imbalance of power between capital and labour, in an effort to account for the persistence of the authoritarian legacy in today's Chilean industrial relations.
International Journal of Human Resource Management
© 2005 Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in International Journal of the Human Resource Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2005, Pages 65-89. The International Journal of Human Resource Management is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com with the open URL of your article..