September 11 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of one of the darkest episodes in Chilean history: the coup d’état and the beginning of Augusto Pinochet’s 17 years dictatorship. This event was characterized not only by the systematic violation of human rights and the dismantling of left-wing politics and popular movements but also by a radical transformation of the country’s political and economic system, particularly its labour relations model and the nature of workers’ power.

This radical transformation turned Chile into the “neoliberal experiment” that served as a blueprint for global political leaders like Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States. In this context, it is crucial to reflect on the historical and political significance of this event and its connection to the economic transformation experiences of other nations. Particularly with regard to the suppression of a socialist project in which the workers and their organisations were the main protagonists, and the implementation of a strongly anti-worker and anti-union model, which for many still prevails.

We would like to invite you to participate in a seminar where we will explore the historical project that workers crafted during the period known as the “Unidad Popular” (1970-1973), which was interrupted by the coup. We will also examine the subsequent regulatory changes brought about by the “Labour Plan” implemented during the dictatorship, the fundamental pillars of which still endure today. Additionally, we will analyse the political nature of these reforms and their relation to the trajectories of countries like the United Kingdom in the post-1980s era, as well as the implications of this profound transformation on the labour landscape and the leftwing parties up to the present day.

You are invited to join this seminar, featuring labour and employment researchers delivering three presentations addressing these critical themes, followed by interventions of critical discussants.



The political project of the workers in the Unidad Popular and the radical transformation of the model of labour relations with the dictatorship’s Labour Plan.

Presenters: Lucas Cifuentes, Alejandro Castillo and Angel Martin, Doctoral Researchers at the Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.

Links and influence of British politics in the Chilean experience.

Presenter: Dr Stephen Mustchin, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.

‘Reforming the reforms’: the challenges in Chile to put an end to the legacy of the dictatorship in the world of work.

Presenter: Luis Villazón, head of the Labour Relations Division, Labour Inspection, Chile.




  • Ralph Darlington, Emeritus Professor, University of Salford
  • Dr. Francisca Alvarez, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester
  • Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.
  • Professor Jill Rubery, Managing Director of the Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.

Date and location

Thursday 12th of October, 3 to 5 pm (hybrid format).

For those attending in person: Room 3.013a, Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester.