Codes of Conduct
The Changing Instrument

   Introduction

      The project «Codes of Conduct - The Changing Instrument» that is now being presented is already the third project in which SIMA and EMF develop join actions within the candidate countries. The outcome, as well the explanation of them, can be consulted once they are available at the Internet in the web pages:

      In both of the former projects the main aim was, in a first basis, the knowledge of the realities of the candidate countries, its analysis and determination of the structural similar realities, that could be complemented with the transmission of the Portuguese experience, by the time of the accession of Portugal to the European Union.

      Such reality has been, in a previous moment, widen up to a set of countries that were the Southwest dimension of the European Union and that have contributed to some more experiences, of special interest, as is the case of the Irish experience and some of the countries that join the E.U. in the nineties.

      After these two projects, within the social dialogue, it has proposed to SIAM, having in mind SIMA’s role and relation established with both of the social partners, at the candidate countries, to go further in the development of these relations.

      SIMA and its experts verified that there are, from country to country, some difficulties, in special situations, besides being a challenge, by all recognisee as a big challenge. We would never refuse such a big challenge.

      After pondering all these circumstances, SIMA has decided that the best contribute is the participation of both of the social partners so that they can face the challenge, in a join way, as well to try, since now, to introduce and implement issue of the E.U. as well as the implementation of some of the realities already applied within the E.U. space.

      As it is known the legislative changes are usually very slow due to the implications that it implies. Being particularly seen in what concerns the issues of Labour Law, once they are issue of an extreme sensibility, and we would like to make a parenthesis to report to the Portuguese case with the actual proposal of a labour code.

      However, it does not mean that we cannot go further and such possibility lays, exactly, in the parts will, via the willing element.

      Like this, and after pondering all the elements, the mechanism that we think suits ours intentions the best is the Codes of Conduct.

After all, what is a Code of Conduct?

      Codes of Conduct are often associated to a certain type of behaviour. However, it will not in this acception that we will try to understand this concept.

      We see the Codes of Conduct as a set of objectives and aims, or principles, to what the parts adhere. Such has been our goal.

      We have tried, by the parts will, to go further and anticipate the Law.

      Let's present, now, the reasons that were on the basis for our option.

      Many of you can be now associating a Code of Conduct to collective bargaining, but this has a wider cover.

      The execution of this project was settled, mainly, in the elaboration of a Code of Conduct, after lots of research on what there is on the matter, mainly in international terms, which has been, after, presented to the several social partners.

      We should point out that the UN and ILO have documents or proposals of documents in this matter, as well as the International Metalworkers’ Federation, they have documents on this issue, namely one of the most recent Code of Conduct signed by the Volkswagen group.

      Developing this research we paid attention, too, to the Directives of the European Union that consecrated themes focussed by the proposal, in a way that the document to elaborated be not only the most complete but also as the most advanced possible.

      We have used also as a support the documents elaborated by UNICE, ETUC and EMF, based on their demands.

      Some meetings took place, of analyse and debate, with several entities, so that the document be, indeed, innovator and independent.

      This documents has, among others, a particularity that we have to point out because it is very wide, not paying attention to the particularities of each country. However, we are aware of the existence of a difference among the candidate countries, that is the reason of the discussion of the documents with some of the candidate countries in order to get a consensus on a Code of Conduct, first at national level and after to achieve a declaration or even a Code accepted by the partners.

      However, this Code of Conduct intended to go further, proposing principles and rights not foreseen in the Portuguese legislation and verify in what way the national social partners face the reality of Codes of Conduct, as well as the reaction of them to some of the proposals, both from the trade unions and employers’ side.

      The countries’ selection for the first part of the project was based on geographic, economic, local reality's criteria and on the guaranty of participation of both parts.

      After this brief introduction and explanation on the process we suggest to go, now, to the proposal of a Code of Conduct and the reports elaborated on it.