The Superior Labor Court (TST) has recognized the validity of collective bargaining agreements that establish salary adjustments scaled to give higher increases to employees who earn less. This is an important precedent that reinforces the guidelines of freedom of negotiation contained in the Labor Reform in progress in the Federal Senate.

The decision was reached at the end of April, in the ruling on an appeal by a former employee of Dânica Termoindustrial Brasil S.A. against a decision issued by the Regional Labor Court of Appeals (TRT) of the 12th Region (Santa Catarina). On that occasion, the former employee requested a declaration of nullity of the collective bargaining agreements signed by the Union of Workers in the Plastic Materials Industries of Joinville during the period in which he worked at the company. According to the claimant, the salary adjustments granted in accordance with those agreements violated the principle of isonomy due to their fixing different adjustment percentages for members of the same category.

In denying the former employee's appeal unanimously, the TRT emphasized that the TST had already ruled to the effect that provisions with this purpose do not violate the principle of isonomy. The appellate judges further added that the exercise of the autonomy of will of the group of workers must be seen as valid and that "the salary policy chosen by the professional category to guarantee higher adjustments for those who receive lower wages is not illegal and does not imply an affront to workers' fundamental guarantees or to the social role of labor."

In deciding the worker's appeal against the decision by the Regional Court of Appeals, the TST confirmed the understanding that the collective agreements in question were in line with the "modern concept of isonomy, in a substantive sense,” because they sought to "build a more solidary, just and equitable society,” as provided for in the Federal Constitution.

Source: TST - RR – 1672.22.2013.5.12.0004