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). Horizontal and Vertical Collective Agreements The Collective Relations Act distinguishes horizontal collective agreements, i.e. professional agreements that cover a group of workers identified for a particular occupation or job (. B, for example, an agreement for pilots) and vertical collective agreements, that is, . Sectoral agreements governing workers` industrial and labour relations, set for all employees in a particular sector (. B for example, an agreement for the textile industry or the banking sector). In Article 12, the law gives priority to vertical agreements which stipulate that they enter into force after publication and denounce horizontal agreements, even if the minimum duration of these agreements is not respected.
This priority assumes, of course, that an organization that has signed the horizontal contract that has been terminated is also a party to the new vertical agreement, because only if this is the case will the relevant principles in terms of the right to negotiate and the scope of collective agreements can be respected. This is generally the case, as many vertical agreements are signed by a large number of primary unions, which may include trade unions.