Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations
The Chilean Constitution establishes the freedom of association and unionisation for everyone, which is why, in Chile, collective relations of employees are organised into unions; defined as any grouping of employees, more or less permanent, with a purpose of defending their collective professional interests.
Employers can also amalgamate, for example, through trade associations; defined as organisations of natural or legal persons, formed with the purpose of promoting the rationalisation, development and protection of the activities which are common to them by reason of their profession, trades or branch of production or services, and those related to such common activities, such as the National Chamber of Commerce.
Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
A union’s fundamental purpose is to provide representation to the union members and to protect the employees.
The bylaws of the unions should establish the entities responsible for verifying the electoral procedures and the acts that must be carried out to express the collective will. In addition, the bylaws must establish the number of votes to which each member is entitled and must adopt measures to ensure respect for minorities. Furthermore, the bylaws must regulate the control mechanisms and the annual accounting, which the board of directors must submit to the assembly of members.
Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies
Health and Safety Committee: mandatory in companies with more than 25 employees; must be composed of three representatives of the employer and three representatives of the employees, whose decisions are binding for the company. This committee serves to detect and evaluate the risks of accidents and occupational diseases that employees may suffer.
Bipartite Training Committee: mandatory in companies with 15 or more employees; must be composed of three representatives of the employer and three representatives of the employees. Its function is to evaluate and agree upon the occupational training program(s) of the company and to advise the company’s management on training matters.