A national collective agreement for the public sector, sectoral collective agreements in multiple sectors, and a first meeting between the president and social partners are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Lithuania in the third quarter of 2019.
National collective agreement signed for public sector
On 10 July, a national collective agreement was signed by Linas Kukuraitis, Minister of Social Security and Labour, and 15 trade unions. The agreement provides for wage increases in the public sector in 2020 and covers approximately 286,000 employees. It is expected to require an additional €60 million in funding in 2020.
In accordance with the agreement, the basic official salary will increase from €173 to €176 next year. The basic official salary is applied in the calculation of salaries for all civil servants, employees of state and municipal budgetary institutions, state officials, judges, soldiers, and state politicians. It is calculated by multiplying the appropriate official salary coefficient by the basic amount.
The lowest salary coefficients will also increase for the lowest level officials, lowest level civil servants, pre-school and pre-primary teachers, special teachers, speech therapists, psychologists and other assistance professionals, tutors, concert masters and accompanists. Minimum coefficients for all quality positions in state and municipal institutions will be increased simultaneously.
The trade unions that signed the agreement will be granted additional guarantees that are designed to encourage employees to defend their interests collectively and strengthen trade unions. These guarantees will deliver tangible benefits to around 32,400 trade union members.
Sectoral collective agreements signed in multiple sectors
A collective agreement for state border guards was signed at the Ministry of the Interior on 9 July. The new agreement will be effective for four years and sets the parameters for work and rest time for officers, improving qualifications, incentives and guarantees for trade union activities. The Minister of the Interior and Commander of the State Border Guard Service, along with representatives from the Law Enforcement Officers Federation of Lithuania (LTPF) and the National Association of Officers’ Trade Unions (NPPSS) signed the sectoral collective agreement.
On 14 August, a collective agreement for the education sector in the Marijampolė municipality was signed by the director of the Administration of the Marijampolė Municipality and the president of the Lithuanian Education and Science Trade Union (FLESTU). This is the first collective agreement of its type in the Lithuanian education sector since the adoption of the new labour code in 2017. The parties have agreed that the municipality will consult with FLESTU on all issues related to the financing of regional educational institutions; the optimisation of the network of institutions; and other issues impacting on the employment, social, economic and legal situation of employees at the municipality’s educational institutions.
On 9 September, a renewal of the collective agreement for the social services sector was signed by five trade unions and Minister of Social Security and Labour Kukuraitis. The collective agreement provides the 19,000 unionised employees in the sector with a higher minimum wage coefficient. It also stipulates that:
- variable pay and premiums may not exceed 80% of the fixed part of the salary
- the employer is required to notify the trade union about any changes in the procedure of paying salaries, premiums and other benefits at least five working days before the changes become effective
- the survivor benefits for the family of a deceased worker, or the employee benefit in the case of illness or serious troubles, should be a minimum of one to five monthly wage payments
On 16 September, the Baltic Transport Trade Union Solidarumas and the Lithuanian Transport Workers’ Trade Union Solidarumas signed a collective agreement for the international road transport sector with the Lithuanian National Road Carriers’ Association Linava. It is the first agreement of its type in Lithuania. The collective agreement regulates the working, social and economic conditions of mobile workers in the sector who are employed at companies engaged in international road freight transport activities. The agreement also regulates insurance, working time, rest time and other guarantees for drivers, as well as the procedure of setting up bilateral councils and commissions in the sector.
Social partners meet new president
On 18 September, the new President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda met the main social partner organisations for the first time. Issues discussed with the trade unions included labour and capital taxation, trade union activities, new labour code provisions and public procurement. According to the trade unions, the president agreed to propose amendments to the law that would give priority in public procurement to companies with collective agreements.
During the meeting, the employer organisations called upon the president to take steps to make the public sector more efficient, saying that a significant part of the spending on education and social security was inefficient. The meeting also addressed issues such as the taxation of reinvestments and more efficient management of state-owned assets.
According to the Office of the President, meetings with the social partners will take place on a regular basis going forward. Key stakeholders will also be consulted before any legislative changes are proposed.