Once an interim agreement has been reached between the employer and union representatives, each union member has the opportunity to vote in favour of its acceptance or rejection. If at least 50% of union members who vote accept the agreement, it becomes legally binding. If union members do not accept the agreement, the employer and union representatives can continue negotiations. Alternatively, the union may call for a strike vote. In addition, a strike vote must obtain at least 50% of the vote. Very rarely, if a union cannot obtain ratification or strike authorization, it will waive its right to represent workers. Before the union can enter into collective bargaining, it must be certified by the Labour Council. In a short period of time after the certification is received, the union will begin collective bargaining (or negotiations) with the employer. The aim of the negotiations is to reach agreement on the many issues that can be included in the agreement. Procedures for the application of workers` rights are also defined in collective agreements. It is the union`s responsibility to enforce workers` rights by filing a complaint and, if necessary, pursuing the matter before arbitration.
As a general rule, workers must apply for union representation to assert their rights when a complaint is rejected by their direct supervisor. The exact process of filing a complaint, and even the continuation of conciliation, varies in different collective agreements. For more information on appeal and arbitration procedures, see the appeal and arbitration procedure. For more information on collective agreements, visit the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development website. For federal affairs, see the Government of Canada`s public sector collective agreements website. Portuguese law distinguishes three types of collective agreements according to the nature of the signatories on the employer side (Article 2, Collective Labour Relations Act): association agreements negotiated by employers` organisations; multi-employer agreements negotiated by a number of employers who, whether or not they are members of employer organizations, do not act through any association to negotiate the agreement in question; Agreements concluded at the company level by a single employer. This distinction is used by law to resolve specific conflicts between collective agreements (see also collective bargaining: level of bargaining, instruments of collective labour regulation). Another legal distinction, based on the different nature of the scope of collective agreements, is defined by horizontal and vertical agreements (see below). The law of collective agreements has four fundamental points: although the collective agreement itself is unenforceable, many of the negotiated terms relate to wages, conditions, holidays, pensions, etc.