Poland: Non-standard workers may gain right to join a union

Workers with non-standard employment contracts may soon get the right to union membership.

Following a ruling of the Constitutional Court (Trybunał Konstytucyjny (TK)) in June 2015, the government has proposed draft amendments aimed at addressing the concerns raised in the verdict. The TK established that the Trade Unions Act wrongly limits the right to trade union membership only to people with employment contracts, whereas it should cover all workers – in line with the definition provided by ILO Convention 87 and provisions of the Constitution.  As a result of the ruling, non-standard workers, such as self-employed persons who do not employ any staff or persons working on the basis of civil law contracts will become entitled to trade union membership. When the new regulations are adopted (and it is highly unlikely that they would not be passed into law), the social base for trade unions will enlarge considerably. The draft was handed over to social partners in late March. The most disturbing item of the proposed amendments is the minimum duration of contractual relationship between the service provider ('worker') and service recipient ('employer'), which is defined at six months. There are concerns as to why such a condition is included and why the relationship must be of half a year's duration. 

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