Unable to Shape the Political Arena: The Impact of Poor Quality Employment on Unions in Post-Transition Chile

Kirsten Sehnbruch
Dev-out Working Paper Series



This article examines why, after 20 years of government by a centre-left coalition, the political position of unions in Chile has weakened. The academic literature has predominantly focused on the political and sociological factors that have shaped the labour movement.

This paper complements these perspectives with empirical evidence and argues that, in addition to the political and sociological factors that the literature has highlighted, the increased use of flexible forms of employment makes it impossible for unions to recover a position of strength with their current methods of organisation and mobilisation. It therefore concludes that Chile's unions need to find new ways of acting in the political arena.