The CUT’s Experience during the Workers' Party Governments in Brazil (2003-2016)
This paper looks at the development of the Unified Workers’ Central of Brazil (CUT) during the four consecutive Workers’ Party (PT) governments, first under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and later under Dilma Rousseff. The analysis draws on various aspects of the power resources approach, but focuses specifically on institutional power. The government found it politically difficult to implement a left-wing programme, due to the complex nature of the ruling coalition and its conservative opposition in the broader context of neo-liberal hegemony and financial globalisation. By continuing to establish dialogue with social movements, the PT governments stimulated forms of social participation in developing public policies, reinforcing existing institutions and creating new ones. By using its institutional power, the CUT was able to strengthen its participation in public institutions. There were hardly any substantial debates on labour or employment conducted without the CUT’s participation. On the other hand, the privileged spaces in the labour arena did not achieve structural changes capable of redefining the country’s development model and the standard of work regulation.
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