Social Economy and Labour

The Centre for Studies in Trade Unionism and Labour Economics (CESIT)

The Centre for Studies in Trade Unionism and Labour Economics (CESIT) was founded within the Institute of Economics in 1989. Composed of researchers with multiple academic backgrounds, CESIT has, since its creation, worked together with different government organs, trade unions (including CUT) and other institutions; establishing partnerships and producing studies, research and publications. Besides being a research centre, CESIT has been offering for 15 years a specialization course in labour economics for trade union leaders, trade unionists, magistrates, civil servants and members of NGOs. Since 1992, CESIT has developed 181 specialists in Labour Economics and Trade Unionism. 


CESIT's major objective is to strengthen bonds between the university and the trade union movement as well as provide support to research activities related to the labour world. Since its foundation the Centre has given priority to issues such as labour relations, employment, labour conditions, actual and historical aspects of trade unionism, technological innovations and social policies. In addition, the Centre seeks to combine the rigidity of academic works with the practical experience of those involved in labour relations and politics. Finally, the participation of DIEESE in the Orientation Council aims the attendance of trade unions demands.

The four central objectives of CESIT since its creation have been:

  • to accompany the evolution of themes and tendencies related to every aspect involved with the labour world
  • to promote and participate in courses and seminars in order to intervene in the public debate concerning labour issues
  • to maintain constant contact with national and international institutions to exchange experiences and to develop joint studies and researches
  • to divulge its studies through publications, conclusions and realizations

As a result recent transformations in the economy and in society in general we face a new industrial pattern with a new technological paradigm and new rules to organize production and labour that could lead us to a new type of worker. Besides having a greater educational level and being more participative and multifunctional, this worker might have a renewed valuation of ethics and labour utopia, although this is a small part of the general labour market. On the other hand, this process occurs from the offensive of capital, transformed by the financial dominance that in the name of the amplified, deregulated and internationalized concurrence, moves against labour and conquers it. 

These matters were not discussed in Brazil during the 80’s as the country was moving out of a dictatorship and the new trade unionism movement was still recovering the basic elements of a democratic system. Now, in the 21st Century, trade unionism in Brazil has to face new and old dilemmas. The third industrial revolution, the financial dominance of capital and the subordinated insertion of the country into the world economy bring further challenges to the labour world. However, old tensions still remain: inequality, low salaries, social exclusion and the absence of democratic rules in labour relations.