In the beginning of the 1970s, economic premises supporting the typical model of labour relationships underwent profound changes, with a generalized use of atypical forms of work registered since the last quarter of the 20th century. This trend however, has not contributed to their regulation in providing legal
protection to workers, particularly regarding the purpose of their withdrawal from the subject of mercantile discretion.
The right to job security is a structuring principle and its constitutional consecration includes the recognition that the right to work has a human dimension of personal fulfillment. As such, it withdraws from the employer’s arbitrary decision not only the free termination of the employment relationship, but also any substantial modifications of its content. The Decent Work Agenda should not ignore that the strategy to fight precarious work – which has different expressions – benefits from the constitutional framework and its objective of promoting job security, which, not limited to the mere fight against precarious work, extends itself to other aspects of the employment relationship, reinforcing the broader meaning of the concept of precarious work. Furthermore, a deep reflection is lacking on the limitation of fixed-term contracts, on their links to the subsidiarity of temporary work (as well as on its limitation to functional areas that do not constitute the company’s social object), and on the centrality of economic dependence as a key aspect in defining the figure of the employment contract.
Keywords: Labour relationship, precarious work, job security, Decent Work Agenda, Labour Code, labour reform.
Authors: Filipe Lamelas, Pedro Rita