TRADE UNION ORGANIZATIONS
TRADE UNION ORGANIZATIONS
Organizations which pursue the protection of employees' interests (see trade union ).
The majority of Greek unions are organized on the basis of occupation or occupational category. Industrial unions based on the sector of economic activity or production are the exception. Trade unionism within the enterprise, which first emerged after 1974, seems, in the private sector, to be somewhat on the decline. Primary unions, which in Greece are autonomous and may be formed with the minimal of legal formalities, favour the fragmentation of the trade union movement but also its effectiveness. They are very numerous and in many cases do not engage in genuinely trade union activities. There are over 7,000 in existence, more than half of them for individual enterprises. The number of enterprise-level unions which have the informal status of an employees' association (?envsh pros?vpvn) is not known. At the next level, there are approximately 90 federations and 100 Labour Centres. The recent legislation on collective bargaining (Law 1876/1990) supports and encourages the development of industrial or sectoral organizations to the detriment of occupation-based ones, but has so far had little such effect.
Trade union organizations are divided into primary, second-level and third-level organizations. Primary unions are:
(a) organizations possessing the legal form of a trade union (σωματειο);
(b) local branches of unions with a broader regional or even national coverage as provided for in their standing rules; and
(c) employees' associations , mostly in small enterprises, with the informal status of an association of persons (ενωση προσωπων).
Second-level trade union organizations are federations and Labour Centres . Third-level trade union organizations are confederations of federations and of Labour Centres. Freedom to form trade unions is established under Articles 23 and 12 of the 1975/1986 Constitution and also in accordance with ILO Convention No. 87 (ratified by Greece). The organization and operation of unions (see union elections ) are regulated freely by their own union rule-books , with the exception of matters regulated by law (mainly Law 1264/1982), from which their own rules may not deviate. The organs of a union are the general assembly of union members , the executive council , the audit committee , the representatives in federations and Labour Centres, and the electoral board for elections. The dissolution of a union by an administrative act is prohibited in principle, in accordance with Article 12(2) of the Constitution and Article 4 of ILO Convention No. 87. All employees who have completed two months' employment in the enterprise or establishment or sector in which they are working have the right to become a member of one union within the enterprise or establishment and one secondlevel union in the industry or sector in which they are working, provided they fulfil the legal criteria laid down in the union's rulebook (Article 7(1) of Law 1264/1982). A union may not refuse to admit new members without justification. Minors and foreign workers who are lawfully employed may be members of a union (see trade union movement ).
Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.