New employer organisation in commerce sector

A new employer organisation, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS), organising companies in the commerce sector, was founded in mid November 2006. As membership of TZS is not compulsory but voluntary, the organisation can legitimately represent employers’ interests and act as an employer organisation. At present, TZS has over 2,800 members from wholesale and retail companies and small shopkeepers, which includes all major companies.

On 17 November 2006, a new employer organisation, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (Trgovinska zbornica Slovenije, TZS), was founded and charged with the task of organising companies in the commerce sector. On 25 October 2007, its membership reached over 2,800 members from wholesale and retail companies and small shopkeepers, including all major companies. These member organisations generate over 20% of Slovenia’s total turnover and more than 60% of the sector’s overall turnover.

TZS formally took over the provision of services for these companies from the Trade Association (Zdruzenje za trgovino, ZT), affiliated to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije, GZS).

Membership of chambers becomes voluntary

In May 2006, the Slovenian parliament adopted a new Law on Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) (SI0606019I), according to which GZS membership is no longer compulsory but voluntary for companies. The new LCCI made provision for the emergence of more chambers of commerce and industry and employer organisations of a more conventional type. As the membership of the new chambers is no longer compulsory but voluntary, these organisations can legitimately represent employers’ interests and act as employer organisations.

Provisions for new organisation

Representativeness criteria

On 15 May 2007, TZS submitted an application to the government to grant the organisation a written order on representativity on the basis of the representativity criteria stipulated in the new LCCI. However, these criteria do not refer to collective bargaining and tripartite consultation, but only concern the activities of the chambers.

Signing of sectoral collective agreement

With the consent of all signatories, TZS also signed the new Collective Agreement for the Retail Sector (CARS) (SI0604019I) at the beginning of 2007. According to Article 7 of the Law on Collective Agreements (SI0604029I), trade unions and employers or their representative organisations may accede to the already concluded collective agreement with the consent of the parties involved and thus become its signatories.

Membership of economic and social council

Pursuant to the amended rules of conduct of the Economic and Social Council of Slovenia (Ekonomsko socialni svet Slovenije, ESSS) (SI0207103F), TZS acquired the consent of all employer organisations’ signatories of the rules of conduct to nominate a TZS member to the ESSS.

Vocational training responsibilities

In April 2007, the Ministry of Education and Sport (Ministrstvo za šolstvo in šport, MŠŠ) granted a public authorisation to TZS for the execution of tasks required of the social partners in the field of vocational training in the commerce sector.

Commentary

Since the representativity criteria in the new LCCI do not refer to collective bargaining and tripartite consultation, the trade unions have for a long time been demanding the adoption of a regulation setting out the criteria of employer organisations’ representativity for these purposes. While such criteria for trade unions and their representative organisations – as well as their status as legal entities – were determined many years ago, the issue of employer organisations’ representativity remains unresolved to date.

Štefan Skledar, Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development

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