Representativeness of the social partners: Agricultural sector

  • National Contribution:

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Relaciones laborales,
  • Representativeness,
  • Date of Publication: 01 Octubre 2007



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This report examines the operations of social partner organisations and collective bargaining in the agricultural sector. The first part of the report provides an overview of the agricultural sector’s economic background. The second part analyses the social partner organisations in the Member States of the European Union, with the exception of Sweden, and including the newest Member States Bulgaria and Romania. This section places particular emphasis on membership of the social partner organisations, their role in collective bargaining and public policy, and their national and European affiliations. The third and final part analyses the relevant European associations, in particular the composition of their membership and their capacity to negotiate. The aim of the EIRO series of studies on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and supranational social partner organisations in the field of industrial relations in selected sectors. The impetus for these studies arises from the goal of the European Commission to recognise the representative social partner organisations to be consulted under the EC Treaty provisions. Hence, this study is designed to provide the basic information required to establish sectoral social dialogue.

The study was compiled on the basis of individual national reports submitted by the EIRO correspondents. The text of each of these national reports is available below. The reports have not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a questionnaire and should be read in conjunction with it.

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National contributions may be available


Objectives of study

The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the relevant national and supranational associations – namely, the trade unions and employer organisations – in the field of industrial relations in the agricultural sector, and how these actors relate to the sector’s European interest associations of labour and business. The impetus for this study and for similar studies in other sectors arises from the aim of the European Commission to identify the representative social partner organisations to be consulted under the provisions of the EC Treaty. Hence, the study aims to provide the basic information needed to set up sectoral social dialogue. The effectiveness of the European social dialogue depends on whether its participants are sufficiently representative in terms of the sector’s relevant national actors across the EU Member States. Only those European organisations which meet this precondition will be permitted to take part in the European social dialogue.

Against this background, the study will first identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations, and then analyse the structure of the relevant European organisations, in particular their membership composition. This requires clarifying the unit of analysis at both the national and European level of interest representation. This study includes only organisations whose membership domain is ‘sector-related’ (see below). At both the national and European levels, a multiplicity of associations exist which are not social partner organisations in the sense that they essentially deal with industrial relations. Thus, there is a need for clear-cut criteria which enable analysis to differentiate the social partner organisations from other associations.

As regards the national level associations, classification as a sector-related social partner organisation implies fulfilling one of two criteria: the associations must either be a party to sector-related collective bargaining or a member of a sector-related European association of business or labour which participates in the sector’s European social dialogue. Affiliation to such a European organisation and involvement in national collective bargaining are of the utmost importance to the European social dialogue.

In line with the criteria for the national organisations, this study includes those European organisations that participate in the European social dialogue. In addition, the report considers any other sector-related European association with sector-related national social partner organisations under its umbrella. Hence, the objective to identify the sector-related national and European social partner organisations is both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’.

Definitions

For the purpose of this study, the agricultural sector is defined in terms of the classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE), to ensure the cross-national comparability of the research findings. More specifically, agriculture is defined as encompassing NACE 01 – that is, agriculture, hunting and related services.

The domains of the trade unions and employer organisations and scope of the relevant collective agreements are likely to vary from this precise NACE demarcation. Hence, the study includes all trade unions, employer organisations and multi-employer collective agreements which are sector related in terms of any one of the following four aspects or patterns:

  • congruence – the domain of the organisation or scope of the collective agreement corresponds to the NACE demarcation, as specified above;
  • sectionalism – the domain or scope covers only a certain part of the sector, as defined by the above NACE demarcation, while no group outside the sector is covered;
  • overlap – the domain or scope covers the entire sector plus (parts of) one or more other sectors. However, it is important to note that the study does not include general associations which do not deal with sector-specific matters;
  • sectional overlap – the domain or scope covers part of the sector plus (parts of) one or more other sectors.

At European level, two sector-related organisations currently participate in the sector’s European social dialogue: the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) and the Employers’ Group of the Committee of Agricultural Organisations (GEOPA-COPA). Hence, affiliation to either EFFAT or GEOPA-COPA is one sufficient criterion for classifying a national association as a social partner organisation. However, it should be noted that the constituent criterion is one of sector-related membership. This is important in the case of EFFAT due to its multi-sectoral domain. This study will include only EFFAT-affiliated organisations whose domain relates to agriculture.

Collection of data

The collection of quantitative data, such as those on membership, is essential for investigating the representativeness of the social partner organisations. Unless otherwise cited, this study draws on the country studies provided by the EIRO national centres. It is often difficult to find precise quantitative data. In such cases, rough estimates are given rather than leaving a question blank, given the practical and political relevance of this study. However, if the reliability of an estimate is doubtful, this will be noted.

Quantitative data, as documented in the country studies, stem from three main sources:

  • official statistics and representative survey studies;
  • administrative data, such as membership figures provided by the respective organisations, which are then used for calculating the density rate on the basis of available statistical figures on the potential membership of the organisation;
  • personal estimates made by representatives of the respective organisations.

While the data sources of any economic figures cited in the report are generally statistics, the figures in respect of the organisations are usually either administrative data or estimates. Furthermore, it should be noted that several country studies present data on trade unions and business associations that do not meet the above definition of a sector-related social partner organisation, in order to give a complete picture of the sector’s associational ‘landscape’. For the above substantive reasons, as well as for methodological reasons of cross-national comparability, such trade unions and business associations will not be considered in this report.

Structure of report

The study consists of three main parts, beginning with a brief summary of the economic background of the sector. The report then analyses the social partner organisations in all EU Member States, with the exception of Sweden, and including Bulgaria and Romania, which acceded to the EU on 1 January 2007. In other words, the study covers 26 European countries. The third part of the study considers the representative associations at European level. Each section will contain a brief introduction explaining the concept of representativeness in greater detail, followed by the study findings. This is because representativeness is a complex issue that requires separate consideration of national and European levels for two reasons. On the one hand, account has to be taken of the method applied by national regulations and practices to capture representativeness. On the other hand, the national and European organisations differ in their tasks and scope of activities. The concept of representativeness must thus be suited to this difference.

Finally, it is important to note the difference between the research and political aspects of this study. While providing data on the representativeness of the organisations under consideration, this report does not reach any definite conclusion on whether the representativeness of the European social partner organisations and their national affiliates is sufficient for admission to the European social dialogue. The reason for this is that defining criteria for sufficient representativeness is a matter for political decision rather than an issue of research analysis.


Economic background

The product and labour market of the agricultural sector are quite distinct from those of most other sectors. In terms of production, the agricultural sector is highly regulated within the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). At the same time, the labour market is characterised by a high proportion of self-employed people, seasonal and casual workers, the latter often consisting of foreign workers. Informal work carried out by farmers’ spouses and other family members is also significant. Moreover, the illegal segment of the labour market is likely to be comparatively large compared with other sectors.

As a result of these labour market characteristics, it is difficult to classify farms in the general category of companies or businesses. As a production unit, the farm is often more similar to a household unit. Moreover, the sector comprises a substantial proportion of small-scale, part-time farmers whose main occupation is outside of agriculture, with farming only constituting a supplementary source of income. Another outcome of these characteristics is that the sector’s employment patterns are not very well documented. Nevertheless, the findings in Tables 1 and 2 give a general overview of labour market development in the agricultural sector from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, encompassing a number of indicators which are important in terms of industrial relations and social dialogue. These findings show that agriculture is undergoing a process of general decline. In the majority of countries, the number of companies, the level of total employment and the overall number of employees in agriculture have all diminished. Exceptions to this trend can be found in Romania and Slovakia with regard to the number of companies in the agricultural sector, in Germany and Malta with respect to employment levels, and in Spain, Greece and Italy in terms of the number of employees. The decline in employment has tended to be more pronounced than the decrease in the number of employees in agriculture. This implies that it has primarily been the smaller units which have been forced out of business. Nevertheless, the overall level of employment in agriculture is still far higher than the number of employees in most of the EU countries. In Greece, for example, total employment in agriculture amounted to some 533,081 persons in 2005, compared with just 34,069 employees. These large differences underline the economic importance of self-employment in the sector. As a result of the general decrease both in the level of employment and in the number of employees, the agricultural sector’s share of total national employment and employee levels fell in all countries except France. Despite this trend, employment in agriculture is still significant in Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Romania, accounting for over 10% of total employment. However, a comparable level in terms of the sector’s share of the total number of employees is not found in any of the countries in question. With the exception of the Czech Republic, France and Ireland, agriculture accounts for no more than 4% of the countries’ total number of employees.

Table 1: Total employment in agriculture, 1993 and 2004
 

No. of companies

Total employment

Male employment

Female employment

  1993 2004 1993 2004 1993 2004 1993 2004
ATo

239,100a

190,400b

n.a.

189,800

n.a.

100,000

n.a.

100,000

BE

75,542c

51,540d

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

BG

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

1,075,900d

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

CY

n.a.

45,199

n.a.

30,620

n.a.

19,597

n.a.

11,023

CZ

n.a.

54,600

371,500

200,600

238,300

139,000

133,200

61,600

DE

n.a.

399,600d

1,269,700

1,276,400d

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

DK

92,769

44,447d

128,432

80,707b

95,198

62,269b

33,234

18,438b

EE

1,450

830

87,200

23,400d

53,300

13,400d

33,900

10,000d

EL

819,140

824,460b

775,375

533,081d

447,728

300,345d

327,647

232,736d

ES

1,383,910

1,140,730

2,570,810

2,323,210

1,784,910

1,578,840

785,900

744,370

FI

4,414

4,055

151,500

92,400

94,400

61,400

57,100

31,000

FR

637,393

589,771b

2,089,000

1,189,859b, p

n.a.

770,365b, p

n.a.

419,494b, p

HU

25,880

24,784

229,298

204,900

n.a.

158,000

n.a.

46,900

IEo

n.a.

141,500f

n.a.

117,000g

n.a.

102,000

n.a.

15,000

IT

3,023,344h

1,900,000

1,118,000

990,000

n.a.

683,000

n.a.

307,000

LTg

1,162i

800d

249,800i

204,200d

150,900i

122,600d

98,900i

81,600d

LU

n.a.

147

3,114h

1,924

2,736h

1,770

378h

154

LV

n.a.

13,739j

183,300

87,800d

98,400

49,400d

85,000

38,300d

MT

57b

36d

17,867b

17,969d

14,045b

14,463d

3,822b

3,506d

NL

119,975

92,680

241,800k

218,000b

202,145

179,850

39,655

38,150

PL

10,176

83,576

3,848,300

2,139,518

1,933,600

1,205,283

1,914,700

934,235

PTg

n.a.

n.a.

418,786l

215,598m

264,187l

140,579m

154,599l

75,019m

RO

9,497k

10,842

3,537n

2,634

1,720n

1,243

1,817n

1,391

SI

263a

288d

8,617a

5,043d

4,747a

3,022d

3,870a

2,021d

SK

8,834

8,852d

187,200

81,500d

122,500

58,400d

64,700

23,100d

UK

n.a.

307,100

n.a.

546,000

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Notes: n.a. = not available, a = 1995, b = 2003, c = 1994, d = 2005, e = 2006, f = 2000, g = NACE 01 and 02, h = 1990, i = 2002, j = Farms employing 50 employees or more, k = 1996, l = 1991, m = 2001, n = data only refer to agriculture (i.e. not including hunting and related services), o = NACE A and B, p = full-time equivalents.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

Table 2: Total employees in agriculture, 1993 and 2004
 

Total employees

Male employees

Female employees

Total sectoral employees as % of total employment in economy

Total sectoral employees as % of total employees in economy

  1993 2004 1993 2004 1993 2004 1993 2004 1993 2004
AT

n.a.

37,800

n.a.

22,000

n.a.

15,700

n.a.

4.8%

n.a.

1.1%

BE

125,981c

95,009d

84,387c

62,526d

41,594c

32,483d

n.a.

n.a.

4.4%c

2.9%d

BG

n.a.

57,500d

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

CY

n.a.

6,738

n.a.

4,501

n.a.

2,237

n.a.

9.7%

n.a.

2.1%

CZ

344,000

159,600

217,300

105,900

126,800

53,700

7.6%

4.3%

7.8%

4.1%

DE

n.a.

284,279d

n.a.

199,338d

n.a.

84,341d

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

1.1%d

DK

44,866

39,763b

33,471

28,455b

11,395

11,308b

4.9%

3%b

1.9%

1.6%b

EE

60,400

15,800d

39,200

9,300e

21,200

7,900e

12.5%

3.9%

9.4%

2.8%

EL

31,353

34,069d

21,990

n.a.

9,363

n.a.

20.9%

12.1%d

1.6%

1.2%d

ES

1,216,330

1,233,650

992,525

870,957

223,805

362,693

9.1%

5.1%

3.7%

3.2%

FI

n.a.

8,287

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

7.2%

3.9%

n.a.

0.4%

FR

1,311,000

1,124,524b, p

n.a.

634,768b, p

n.a.

398,761b, p

1.2%

1.7%

3.8%

4.4%

HUg

n.a.

80,587

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

5.2%

8.6%

3.1%

IEo

n.a.

22,000

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

6.4%

n.a.

7.7%

IT

357,397h

416,000

n.a.

134,000

n.a.

282,000

5.4%

4.2%

n.a.

2.6%

LTg

27,668i

26,504d

18,951i

16,873d

8,717i

9,631d

17.8%i

13.9%d

3.2%i

2.7%d

LU

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

1.7%h

0.6%

n.a.

n.a.

LV

36,700

30,800d

24,800

18,700d

11,900

12,100d

18.6%

8.5%d

4.6%

3.4%d

MT

430b

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

12.2%b

12.7%d

n.a.

n.a.

NL

94,600

91,900b

72,800

66,900

21,800

25,000

2.7%k

2.2%b

1.8%

1.3%

PL

291,000

151,329

230,300

112,896

60,700

38,433

26%

16.8%

3%

1.7%

PTg

138,363l

92,586m

91,555l

59,777m

46,808l

32,809m

10.1%l

4.6%m

4.4%l

2.4%m

RO

560n

106

430n

69

130n

37

35.2%n

32%

8.4%n

2.4%

SI

7,975a

4,321d

4,349a

2,629d

3,626a

1,692d

0.001%a

0.006%d

0.001%a

0.006%d

SK

178,800

74,400d

114,400

52,200d

64,400

22,200d

8.6%

3.6%d

9.5%

3.9%d

UK

n.a.

192,000

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

2%

1.4%g

1%o

0.7%g, o

Notes: n.a. = not available, a = 1995, b = 2003, c = 1994, d = 2005, e = 2006, f = 2000, g = NACE 01 and 02, h = 1990, i = 2002, j = farms employing 50 employees or more, k = 1996, l = 1991, m = 2001, n = data only refer to agriculture (i.e. not including hunting and related services), o = NACE A and B, p = full-time equivalents.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006


National level of interest representation

In many Member States, statutory regulations explicitly refer to the concept of representativeness when assigning certain rights of interest representation and public governance to trade unions and/or employer organisations. The most important rights addressed by such regulations include: formal recognition as a party to collective bargaining; extension of the scope of a multi-employer collective agreement to employers not affiliated to the signatory employer organisation; and participation in public policy and tripartite bodies of social dialogue. Under these circumstances, representativeness is normally measured by the membership strength of the organisations. For instance, statutory extension provisions usually allow for extending a collective agreement to unaffiliated employers only when the signatory union and employer organisation represent 50% or more of the employees within the agreement’s domain (see Institut des Sciences du Travail (IST), Collective agreement extension mechanisms in EU member countries, Catholic University of Louvain: Typescript, 2001).

As outlined above, the representativeness of the national social partner organisations is of interest to this study in connection with the capacity of their European umbrella organisations for participation in the European social dialogue. Hence, the role of the national actors in collective bargaining and public policymaking constitutes another important component of representativeness. The effectiveness of the European social dialogue tends to increase with the growing ability of the national affiliates of the European organisations to regulate employment terms and to influence national public policies affecting the sector.

As cross-national comparative analysis shows (see Traxler, F., ‘The metamorphoses of corporatism’, European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2004, pp. 571–598), a generally positive correlation emerges between the bargaining role of the social partners and their involvement in public policy. Social partner organisations that are engaged in multi-employer bargaining are incorporated in state policies to a significantly greater extent than their counterparts in countries where multi-employer bargaining is lacking. The explanation for this finding is that only multi-employer agreements matter in macroeconomic terms, setting an incentive for governments to persistently seek the cooperation of the social partner organisations. If single-employer bargaining prevails in a country, none of the collective agreements will have a noticeable effect on the economy, due to their limited scope. As a result, the basis for generalised tripartite policy concertation will be absent.

In summary, representativeness is a multi-dimensional concept that embraces three basic elements: 1) the membership domain and membership strength of the social partner organisations; 2) their role in collective bargaining; and 3) their role in public policymaking.

Unlike other sectors, in agriculture it is difficult to distinguish between trade unions and business interest organisations. As already outlined, this is because farming is often practised as ‘own account’ employment. Hence, employers are rarely the main constituents of farmers’ organisations. Moreover, their members may regard their economic position as being more similar to that of employees rather than employers, since they are often economically dependent on large buyers, such as food-processing companies or retail chains, and as they are often engaged in farming as an auxiliary activity, alongside their primary job as an employee outside of the agricultural sector. As a result of this ambiguity, farmers’ organisations are often perceived as interest groups in their own right, which are distinct from organised business and labour. In this context, farmers’ organisations are recognised as a third and special category of social partners within the framework of macro-corporatist policymaking in some countries, such as Austria, the Netherlands and Portugal.

As regards sector-level industrial relations, difficulties emerge in categorising organisations according to either trade unions or employer organisations, as reflected by some of the country studies. For instance, the Small Farmers’ Union (Unión de Pequeños Agricultures y Ganaderos, UPA) in Spain is reported to be affiliated to both the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations in the European Union (COPA) – the umbrella organisation to which GEOPA-COPA is affiliated – and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). The report on Luxembourg includes the classification of the agricultural association, Central paysanne – which is a member of the Luxembourg Chamber of Agriculture (see Chambers of Labour and Trade) – in the category of trade unions, even though the organisation is a member of COPA. Due to such ambiguities, this study distinguishes between trade unions and employer organisations by reference to their affiliation to higher-level national and European associations. UPA, for example, is considered to be an employer organisation, since this study refers to sector-related affiliations. Furthermore, farmers’ organisations that are neither affiliated to sector-related European social partner organisations nor involved in collective bargaining are excluded from this study, in line with the above reasoning. This applies to a notable number of organisations, for instance in Poland, since farmers’ associations that mainly or exclusively represent self-employed farmers usually have no bargaining role. As the case of Poland illustrates, such associations operate as lobbying bodies for their members’ product market interests – for example, with regard to the standardisation of products, the regulation of prices and the protection of arable land; these interests are different from labour market interests, which are represented by trade unions and employer organisations.

Membership domain and strength

The membership domain of an organisation, as formally established by its constitution or name, demarcates its potential members from other groups which the organisation does not claim to represent. As explained above, this study considers only organisations whose domain relates to agriculture. For reasons of space, it is impossible to outline in detail the domain demarcations of all of the organisations. Instead, the report notes how they relate to the sector by classifying them according to the four patterns of ‘sector-relatedness’, as specified earlier. Regarding membership strength, a differentiation exists between strength in terms of the absolute number of members and strength in relative terms. Research usually refers to relative membership strength as ‘density’, in other words the ratio of actual to potential members.

Furthermore, a difference also arises between trade unions and employer organisations in terms of measuring membership strength. Trade union membership simply means the number of unionised persons. In addition to taking the total membership of a trade union as an indicator of its strength, it is also reasonable to break down this membership total by sex. However, the case of employer organisations is more complex since they organise collective entities, namely companies that employ employees. Hence, in this instance, two possible measures of membership strength may be used – one referring to the companies themselves, and the other to the employees working in the member companies of an employer organisation.

For a sectoral study such as this, measures of membership strength of both the trade unions and employer organisations also have to consider how the membership domains relate to the sector. If a domain is not congruent with the sector demarcation, the organisation’s total density, that is density referring to its overall domain, may differ from sector-specific density, that is density referring to the particular sector. This report will first present the data on the domains and membership strength of the trade unions and will then consider the employer organisations.

Trade unions

Data on both the domains and membership strength of the trade unions are presented in Table 3. This table lists all of the trade unions meeting the two criteria for classification of a sector-related social partner organisation, as set out earlier. For the vast majority of trade unions for which data on domain demarcation are available, a domain overlap emerges. This underlines the tendency among the trade unions to define their domains in rather broad terms. Overlaps arise due to either general, that is sector-unspecific, domains or multi-sector demarcations. The former pattern can be observed in some of the smaller countries, such as Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta, where the confederations are the principal actors on the trade union side. Multi-sector trade unions most frequently represent those working in agriculture together with food processing in countries such as the Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. Other multi-sector combinations include construction (Germany), tourism (Romania), and forestry and woodworking (Bulgaria and Hungary). Congruence, sectionalism and sectional overlaps each represent around 15% of the total number of cases. Sectionalism means that unions specialise within the sector, usually by region, as seen in Austria or Spain, or by employee group, as observed in Austria, Finland, France and Italy. Demarcations by employee group relate to employee status – such as blue-collar or white-collar employees or management status – or occupation – for example, veterinary officers. Special cases include the smallest of all of the trade unions, which covers only one company in Estonia, and Italy’s Alpa union, which specialises in representing people who engage in farming as an auxiliary activity. Sectionalist overlaps result from multi-sector domains that combine specialisations by employee groups. An example is the Austrian Metalworking, Textiles and Food Workers’ Union (Gewerkschaft Metall-Textil-Nahrung, GMTN), the blue-collar trade union representing those working in metalworking, textiles, agriculture and food. Overall, cases of congruence and sectionalism are a minority among the sector-related unions.

Table 3: Interest representation of trade unions, 2004–2005

Country

Domain cover- age

Membership

Density

Collective bargain- ing

Consul- tation

National and European affiliationsb

Members

Female member- shipa

Domain

Sector

AT                

- GMTN

SO

236,671

17.5%

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

ÖGB, EMF, EFFAT, ETUF-TCL

- GPA

SO

256,000

43.7%

18.6%

33%

yes

yes

ÖGB, UNI, EFFAT, Eurocadres

- GÖD

SO

230,000

50.1%

50%–60%

n.a.

yes

yes

ÖGB

- LFB

S

6,673

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

- LAKc

SO

33,000

41.5%

100%

90%

yes

yes

BE                

- CSC/ACV

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

EFFAT

- FGTB/ ABVV

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

EFFAT

- CGSLB/ ACLVB

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

EFFAT

BG                

- Land

n.a.

48

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

n.a.

Podkrepa, EFFAT

CY                

- DEOK

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

3%

yes

no

- PEO

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

22%

yes

no

- SEK

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

33%

yes

no

EFFAT

- FTPAW

O

6,500

33.3%

n.a.

n.a.

yes

no

SEK, EFFAT

CZ                

- OSPZV-ASO

O

100,000

n.a.

n.a.

37.6%

yes

no

ASO, EFFAT

DE                

- IG Bau

O

391,546

16.0%

n.a.

5%

yes

yes

DGB, EFFAT

DK                

- DFF-S

O

20,657

21.7%

n.a.

80%

yes

no

LO, EFFAT, ETF

- 3F

SO

381,545

33.5%

75%

70%

yes

no

LO, EFFAT, ETF

- FDI

S

186

10%

84.5%

84.5%

yes

no

FTF

- JID

SO

1,196

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

no

FTF

EE                

- ETMK

O

4,286

68%

12.7%

5.5%

yes

yes

EFFAT

- Ekseko TU

S

60

90%

37.5%

0.5%

yes

no

Estonian Light Industry Workers’ Union

EL                

- OSEGO

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

n.a.

n.a.

- Federation Panhellen-ique des travailleurs de l’industrie du lait, des aliments et de boissons

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

EFFAT

ES                

- FA-CCOO

O

n.a.

30%

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

CCOO, EFFAT

- FTA-UGT

O

n.a.

20%

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

UGT, EFFAT

FI                

- PL

SO

47,200

24%

85%

60%

yes

no

SAK, EFFAT, EFBWW

- Pardia

O

69,900

53%

60%

n.a.

yes

no

STTK, EPSU

- Jyty

O

70,000

85%

50%

60%

yes

yes

STTK, EPSU

- JHL

O

230,900

71%

n.a.

30%

yes

no

SAK, EPSU

-Agrono-miliitto

S

5,484

57%

69%

69%

yes

no

AKAVA

FR                

- FGA-CFDT

S

60,000

n.a.

n.a.

39%

yes

no

CFDT, EFFAT

- SNCEA-CGC

S

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

12%

yes

no

CGC, EFFATd

- FSCOPA-CFTC

C

1,800

n.a.

n.a.

4.4%

yes

no

CFTC, EFFAT

- FNAF-CGT

C

1,700

n.a.

n.a.

39%

yes

no

CGT, EFFAT

- FGTA-FO

C

6,150

n.a.

n.a.

9.6%

yes

no

CGT-FO, EFFAT

HU                

- MEDOSZ

O

5,000

n.a.

5%

5%

yes

yes

MSZOSZ, EFFAT

IE                

- SIPTU

O

225,000

n.a.

n.a.

15%

yes

yes

ICTU, EFFAT

- IVU

SO

665

n.a.

n.a.

0.5%

yes

yese

ICTU, EFFAT

- VOA

SO

315

n.a.

n.a.

3%

yes

yese

ICTU, EFFAT

IT                

- FLAI

O

289,170

n.a.

n.a.

29%

yes

yes

CGIL, EFFAT

- FAI

O

205,079

n.a.

n.a.

20%

yes

yes

CISL, EFFAT

- UGC

O

70,934

n.a.

n.a.

7%

yes

yes

CISL, EFFAT

- UILA

O

146,691

n.a.

n.a.

14.8%

yes

yes

UIL, EFFAT

- UIMEC

C

52,843

n.a.

n.a.

5.3%

yes

yes

UIL, EFFAT

- Alpa

S

52,000

n.a.

n.a.

5.2%

no

yes

EFFAT

- Confederdia

S

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

- Andaa

S

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

CIDA

LT                

- LZUDPSF

O

4,500

53%

15%

10%

yes

yes

LPSK, EFFAT

LU                

- OGB-L

O

57,000

70%

n.a.

n.a.

no

yes

EFFAT

- LCGB

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

no

yes

EFFAT

LV                

- LLPN

O

3,544

54%

50%d

52%d

no

yes

LBAS, EFFAT

MT                

- GWU*

O

46,489

0.0

n.a.

0.17%

yes

no

EFFAT, ETF, EPSU, ETUF-TCL, EMF, EMCEF, UNI

NL                

- FNV Bondgen- oten

C

465,144

20.5%

n.a.

13%

yes

yes

FNV, EFFAT

- CNV Bedrijven- bond

C

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

yes

CNV, EFFAT

- CNV Diensten- bond

C

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

yes

no

CNV

PL                

- ZZPR

O

24,842

n.a.

n.a.

25%

no

no

EFFAT

- NSZZ SolidarnośćAgriculture

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

EFFAT

- NSZZ Solidarność Tabac

S

1,800

30%

n.a.

50%

yes

yes

EFFAT

PT                

- SINTAB

O

5,000

n.a.

2.9%

0.65%

yes

yes

FESAHT, CGTP

- SETAA

O

3,789

50%

1.9%

0.20%

yes

yes

UGT, EFFAT

RO                

- CERES

O

22,500

20%

21.2%

21.2%

yes

yes

BNS, EFFAT

SI                

- KZI

O

n.a.

50%

n.a.

70%

yes

no

ZSSS, EFFAT

SK                

- OZPP

O

6,530e

40%

17%

9%

yes

no

KOZ SR, EFFAT

UK                

-TGWU

O

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

8.3%

yes

yes

TUC, EFFAT

Notes: See Annex for list of abbreviations and full names of organisations. n.a. = not available, a = as a percentage of total union membership, b = national affiliations in italics; only affiliations to sectoral European associations, c = obligatory membership, d = 2006, e = indirect involvement in bargaining via higher-order confederation. O = overlap, SO = sectional overlap, S = sectionalism, C = congruence

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

As the domains of the trade unions often overlap with the demarcation of the sector, they also overlap with one another in most countries. The results in Table 3 also illustrate these inter-union domain overlaps, which may be considered as endemic. In the majority of countries, the domain of any sector-related trade union overlaps with the domain of all of the other unions in the sector. Depending on the scale of mutual overlap, this results in competition between the unions for members.

Membership is voluntary in all cases, with the exception of the Austrian Chambers for Agricultural Employees (Landarbeiterkammern, LAK) which are public-law chambers. Looking at the membership data of the trade unions, it appears that the proportion of female members is relatively high (Table 3). In slightly more than half of the unions for which data are available, this proportion is equal to or more than 50%. Nonetheless, this does not reflect the sector’s gender composition, as the majority of employees working in agriculture are men in almost all of the countries (Table 2). Female predominance in trade union membership tends to be evident in certain regions of Europe, namely in the Nordic and the Baltic countries. The high female unionisation rates in these groups of countries is in line with corresponding figures on the composition of cross-sectoral national trade union confederations (TN0403105U).

The absolute numbers of trade union members differ widely. Their numbers range from several hundred thousand members to fewer than one hundred members. This considerable variation reflects differences in the size of the economy and the comprehensiveness of the membership domain, rather than in the unions’ ability to attract members. Therefore, density is a more appropriate measure of membership strength for a comparative analysis. In this context, only the voluntary associations are considered. Domain density is 50% or higher in eight of the 17 trade unions which document figures on density (Table 3). A further six trade unions register density levels of between 10% and 49%. Three trade unions represent fewer than 25% of the employees within their domain.

This suggests a rather high level of unionisation; however, this finding should be qualified by two facts. Firstly, six of the eight trade unions with a density level higher than 50% are from Finland or Denmark. Thus, compared with most other countries, trade unions in these two countries are generally characterised by high density levels. Secondly, the group with the strongest trade union density also includes Austria’s Union of Public Services (Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst, GÖD) – the country’s principal public-sector trade union, which represents only a small number of agricultural workers employed by state-owned companies. Hence, its domain differs somewhat from the mainstream profile of the sector-related unions.

The data on sector-specific density confirm these observations. Compared with the density level referring to the unions’ overall domain, their density in agriculture tends to be lower. Excluding the special case of the company trade union in Estonia, data are documented for some 40 unions. Sectoral density is 50% or higher in eight cases. In 14 of the trade unions, sectoral density ranges between 10% and 49%. The majority of the trade unions in this group, namely 18 of the unions, organise less than 10% of the sector’s employees. The lower sectoral density relative to total density is also evident in the 13 trade unions for which figures on both measures are recorded, excluding Latvia’s Trade Union of Agriculture and Food Industry Workers (LLPN) for which the two density measures refer to two different years and are thus not strictly comparable. In more than half of these 13 cases, sectoral density is generally below domain density. Only in two cases is domain density lower than sectoral density. These findings imply that it is particularly difficult for trade unions to organise employees working in agriculture. This can mainly be attributed to the specific employment structure of the agricultural sector, in particular the large number of seasonal and foreign workers combined with an illegal labour market of notable size.

Employer organisations

Table 4 presents the membership data on employer organisations. No comparable information on the system of employer organisations is reported for Bulgaria. In addition, Luxembourg and Malta do not register employer organisations that meet the definition of a social partner organisation, as mentioned earlier. This situation does not mean that business has remained unorganised. As already noted, farmers’ organisations also represent their members’ product market interests – in other words, interests other than those related to industrial relations. Organisations specialising in matters other than industrial relations are commonly classified as trade associations (TN0311101S). Sector-level trade associations usually outnumber sector-level employer organisations (see Traxler, F., ‘Business associations and labour unions in comparison’, British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 44, No. 4, 1993, pp. 673–691). This also holds true for the agricultural sector, particularly since its product market is so highly regulated that it is a key target of organisational action. In Luxembourg and Malta, farmers’ organisations only deal with trade matters. In Ireland, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) and the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) might be considered as borderline cases of an employer organisation and a trade association. Like the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), they participate in national, cross-sectoral partnership negotiations. However, this participation focuses on product market interests and does not extend to pay negotiations. Hence, ICMSA and ICOS are excluded from this study, since they are neither involved in collective bargaining nor affiliated to GEOPA-COPA.

Table 4: Domain coverage, membership and density of employer organisations, 2004–2005

Country

Domain coverage

Membership

Density

Typea

Companies

Employees

Companies

Employees

Domain

Sector

Domain

Sector

AT                

- PKLWK

O

oblig.

190,000

37,800

100%

100%

100%

100%

- OALF

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

95%

BE                

- BB

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- FWA

SO

vol.

9,000–10,000

n.a.

60%

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AEJB-VBTA

S

vol.

650

2,000

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AVBS

S

vol.

1,800

4,900

80%

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

BGf                

Central Co-operative Union (Coordin- ation Council of Bulgarian Agricul-tural Organis-ations)

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

CY                

- Agrotiki

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- EKA

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Panagrarian Association

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- PEK

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

CZ

- ZSCR

O

vol.

1,028

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- CSZP

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

DE                

- GLFA

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

80%–90%c

<10%d

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

DK                

- DL

O

vol.

35,774

19,000

80.5%

80.5%

47.7%

47.7%

- SALA

O

vol.

1,550

33,000

22%

25%

55%

30%

- DANSIRE

S

vol.

12,500

220

100%

100%

100%

n.a.

- GLS-A

O

vol.

1,600

15,000

25%

25%

30%

30%

- SBA

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

0.3%

- DAG

S

vol.

320

2,500

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

EE                

- EPTK

O

vol.

1,030

11,000

1.5%

1.5%

69.6%

69.6%

EL                

- GESASE

O

vol.

350,000

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- PASEGES

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

ES                

- ASAJA

O

vol.

200,000

230,000b

50%

8%

50%

25%

- COAG

O

vol.

125,000

180,000b

30%

4%

n.a.

n.a.

- CCAE

SO

vol.

2,815

5,000b

67%

1%

60%

1%

- UPA

SO

vol.

80,000

125,000

n.a.

8%

n.a.

12%

FI                

- MTL

O

vol.

1,159

9,000

60%

60%

70%

55%

- ET

O

vol.

1,200

41,000

75%

90%

80%

80%

- KT

SO

oblig.

n.a.

426,000

100%

100%

100%

100%

FR                

- FNSEA

O

vol.

320,000

>800,000

n.a.

>50%

n.a.

>50%

HU                

- MOSZ

SO

vol.

891e

130,000 e

n.a.

4%

n.a.

100%

IE                

- IFA

O

vol.

85,000

n.a.

n.a.

73%

n.a.

73%

IT                

- Confagri- cultura

O

vol.

500,000

n.a.

n.a.

19%

n.a.

n.a.

- Coldid-iretti

O

vol.

568,000

1,400,000

n.a.

21.9%

n.a.

n.a.

- CIA

O

vol.

880,023

1,473,784

n.a.

33.9%

n.a.

n.a.

- AGICA

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- ANCA

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- Fedagri

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

LT                

- LZUBA

O

vol.

147

10,000

n.a.

50%

n.a.

60%–70%

- LUS

O

vol.

7,000

n.a.

3.0

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

LU

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

LV                

- LZF

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

MT

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

NL                

- LTO

O

vol.

50,000

40,000

n.a.

68%

n.a.

n.a.

- CUMULA

S

vol.

1,750

2,300

n.a.

70%

n.a.

n.a.

- VHG

S

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

PL                

- KZ RKIOR

O

vol.

800,000–1,000,000

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- FZPR

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

PT                

- CAP

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- FPAS

S

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- ANEFA

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AAVR

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AAACMS

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AAVFX

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AAR

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- AABA

SO

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

RO                

- FPAR

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- NUTRI -COMB

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- LAPAR

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- UNPAR

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- UCPR

S

vol.

81

30,000

100%

0.7%

100%

28.3%

-AGPAR/ PMPA

O

vol.

45

n.a.

n.a.

0.4%

n.a.

n.a.

- PNVV

S

vol.

37

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

- Horticul-tural Association

S

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

SI                

- ZDS

O

vol.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

30%

n.a.

30%

- GZS

O

oblig.

n.a.

n.a.

100%

100%

n.a.

100%

- ZZS

SO

vol.

80

n.a.

n.a.

30%

n.a.

90%

- KGZS

O

oblig.

400

n.a.

100%

100%

100%

100%

SK                

- PZZ

SO

vol.

29

3,500

12%

8%

10%

7%

UK                

- NFU

O

vol.

63,000

n.a.

75%

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Notes: See Annex for list of abbreviations and full names of organisations. O = Overlap, S = Sectionalism, SO = Sectional overlap, n.e. = not existing, n.a. = not available, a oblig. = obligatory; vol. = voluntary, b = full-time equivalents, c = West Germany, d = East Germany, e = 2002, f = reliable data on the system of employer organisation are lacking.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

Table 5: Collective bargaining, consultation and national/European affiliations of employer organisations, 2004–2005

Country

Collective bargaining

Consultation

National and European affiliationsa

AT      

- PKLWK

voluntaryb

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

- OALF

voluntary

voluntary

BE      

- BB

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, COGECA

- FWA

voluntary

voluntary

COPA

- AEJB-VBTA

voluntary

voluntary

ELCA

- AVBS

voluntary

voluntary

COPA, ENA, EFNA

BG e

     

- Central Co-operative Union (Coordination Council of Bulgarian Agricultural Organisations)

n.a.

n.a.

GEOPA-COPAc, COPAd

CY      

- Agrotiki

voluntary

obligatory

FAOK

- EKA

voluntary

obligatory

FAOK

- Panagrarian Association

voluntary

obligatory

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, COGECA

- PEK

voluntary

obligatory

FAOK

CZ      

- ZSCR

voluntary

obligatory

KZPS, COGECA, COPA, CEA

- CSZP

voluntary

obligatory

GEOPA-COPA

DE      

- GLFA

voluntary

voluntary

BDA, GEOPA-COPA

DK      

- DL

voluntary

obligatory

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

- SALA

voluntary

obligatory

GEOPA-COPA

- DANSIRE

voluntary

obligatory

- GLS-A

voluntary

obligatory

- SBA

voluntary

obligatory

EFCI

- DAG

voluntary

obligatory

ELCA

EE      

- EPTK

voluntary

voluntary

EPKK, GEOPA-COPA, COPA

EL      

- GESASE

obligatory

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

- PASEGES

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, COGECA

ES      

- ASAJA

voluntary

voluntary

CEOE, CEPYME, GEOPA-COPA, COPA, CEJA

- COAG

voluntary

voluntary

COPA

- CCAE

voluntary

voluntary

CEPES, OJAS, COGECA

- UPA

voluntary

voluntary

COPA, ETUC

FI      

- MTL

voluntary

obligatory

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

- ET

voluntary

obligatory

EK

- KT

voluntary

voluntary

CEEP, CERM

FR      

- FNSEA

voluntary

obligatory

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

HU      

- MOSZ

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

IE      

- IFA

obligatory

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

IT      

- Confagricultura

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, CEA

- Coldidiretti

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, AEIR, AEVP

- CIA

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

- AGICA

voluntary

voluntary

AGCI, COGECA

- ANCA

voluntary

voluntary

Legacoop, COGECA

- Fedagri

voluntary

voluntary

Confcooperative, COGECA

LT      

- LZUBA

voluntary

voluntary

ZUR, COPA, COGECA

- LUS

obligatory

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

LU

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

LV      

- LZF

obligatory

voluntary

LDDK, LOSP, GEOPA-COPA, COPA

MT

n.e.

n.e.

n.e.

NL      

- LTO

voluntary

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

- CUMULA

voluntary

obligatory

- VHG

voluntary

obligatory

PL      

- KZ RKIOR

obligatory

n.a.

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, COGECA

- FZPR

obligatory

n.a.

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

PT      

- CAP

voluntaryb

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA; CEA, CEPF

- ALIS

voluntary

obligatory

FPAS

- FPAS

voluntary

obligatory

CAP, EPSPA

- ANEFA

voluntary

obligatory

AIP, CEETTAR

- AAVR

voluntary

obligatory

- AAACMS

voluntary

obligatory

- AAVFX

voluntary

obligatory

CAP

- AAR

voluntary

obligatory

CAP

- AABA

voluntary

obligatory

CAP

RO      

- FPAR

voluntary

voluntary

ROMAGRIA

- NUTRICOMB

voluntary

obligatory

- LAPAR

voluntary

voluntary

UGIR 1903

- UNPAR

voluntary

obligatory

CNPR, COGECA

- UCPR

voluntary

obligatory

UGIR 1903

- AGPAR/PMPA

voluntary

obligatory

- PNVV

voluntary

obligatory

- Horticultural Association

voluntary

obligatory

SI      

- ZDS

voluntary

voluntary

- GZS

voluntary

voluntary

EICTA

- ZZS

voluntary

voluntary

GZS, KGZS, COGECA

- KGZS

obligatory

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA, COGECA

SK      

- PZZ

voluntary

obligatory

UK      

- NFU

obligatory

voluntary

GEOPA-COPA, COPA

Notes: See Annex for list of abbreviations and full names of organisations. n.e. = not existing, n.a. = not available, a = national affiliations in italics; only affiliations to sectoral European associations, b = indirect involvement in bargaining via affiliated associations, c = observing member, d = associated member, e = reliable data on the system of employer organisation are lacking.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

In eight of the 26 countries covered in this study, only one sector-related employer organisation has obtained the status of a social partner organisation. In most cases, the formal domains of the employer organisations are rather encompassing, implying overlaps with the sector. The main reason for such overlaps is that the employer organisations usually embrace agriculture and farming in the broad sense. Sector-unspecific domains are unusual and can be found only in Slovenia, namely in the case of the Slovenian Employers’ Association (Zdruzenje delodajalcev Slovenije, ZDS) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije, GZS). The Finnish Employers’ Association of the Special Branches (ET) is the only multi-sectoral organisation.

Sectional overlaps are also relatively widespread. The most common pattern of sectional overlaps results from representing certain subgroups of producers within the broader category of agriculture. Most frequently, organisations whose domain overlaps sectionally specialise in cooperatives. At European level, such associations have as their special representative the umbrella organisation the General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperation (COGECA). In Belgium and Portugal, several associations have specialised in representing certain regions within the country. In Spain, UPA formally concentrates on small farms. A unique instance of sectional overlapping can be seen in relation to the Commission for Local Authority Employers (Kunnallinen työmarkkinalaitos, KT) in Finland, which organises local public employers and whose scope includes agricultural activities. Relatively few examples exist of sectionalist employer organisations whose domain is confined to a certain branch of the sector, such as horticulture. It should be noted that the data on membership domains refer to formal demarcations. The range of membership actually covered may generally differ from formal domains. For instance, the National Farm Independent Farmers’ Confederation (Coldiretti) in Italy mainly represents small and medium-sized farmers.

As with the trade unions, a few employer organisations rely on obligatory membership. Examples include the Standing Committee of Presidents of the Chambers of Agriculture (Präsidentenkonferenz der Landwirtschaftskammern, PKLWK) in Austria, KT in Finland, and GZS and the Agricultural and Forestry Chamber of Slovenia (Kmetijsko gozdarska zbornica Slovenije, KGZS) in Slovenia. However, recent legislation has obliged GZS and KGZS to become a voluntary association within the next three years.

The density of organisations with obligatory membership is, by law, 100% in terms of both companies and employees. Nevertheless, density is also relatively high in voluntary organisations. As regards domain density, well over half of the employer organisations for which data are available record a density level of 50% or more with respect to the companies and employees covered. Only two organisations record a domain density level below 10% in relation to companies. None of the organisations shows a comparatively low record with regard to employees. Overall, sectoral density tends to be lower than domain density. Comparable data on both company density and employee density are documented for 21 of the employer organisations. In 14 of these cases, company density is lower than employee density, whereas seven organisations register an equally high level of the two measures of density. This indicates a higher propensity among the larger companies to organise, compared with their smaller counterparts. In Germany, large differences in density levels are evident between the western and eastern parts of the country. This underlines the difficulty involved in organising members in regions where a tradition of association is lacking. Similarly, density levels tend to be higher in the older Member States than in the new EU countries.

Collective bargaining and its actors

Table 3 lists all of the trade unions engaged in sector-related collective bargaining, while Tables 4 and 5 present the corresponding data for employer organisations. Despite the numerous cases of inter-union domain overlapping in countries characterised by a multi-union situation, only two cases of inter-union competition for bargaining rights can be found. This involves the sector-related trade unions in Portugal and Spain. No conflict over bargaining rights is reported among co-existing employer organisations in a country.

Table 6 provides an overview of the system of sector-related collective bargaining in the 26 countries under consideration. The standard measure of the importance of collective bargaining as a means of employment regulation calculates the total number of employees covered by collective bargaining as a proportion of the total number of employees within a certain segment of the economy (see Traxler, F., Blaschke, S. and Kittel, B., National labour relations in internationalised markets, Oxford University Press, 2001). Accordingly, the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage is defined as the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector.

To delineate the bargaining system, two further indicators are used. The first indicator refers to the relevance of multi-employer bargaining, compared with single-employer bargaining. Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, the company or its subunit(s) is the party to the agreement. This includes cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement. The relative importance of multi-employer bargaining, measured as a percentage of the total number of employees covered by a collective agreement, therefore indicates the impact of the employer organisations on the overall collective bargaining process.

The second indicator considers whether statutory extension schemes are applied to the sector. For reasons of brevity, this analysis is confined to extension schemes designed to extend the scope of a collective agreement to employers not affiliated to the signatory employer organisation; extension regulations targeting the employees are thus not included in the research. Regulations concerning the employees are not significant to this analysis for two reasons. Firstly, extending a collective agreement to employees who are not unionised in the company covered by the collective agreement is a standard of the International Labour Organization (ILO), aside from any national legislation. Secondly, employers have good reason to extend a collective agreement concluded by them, even when they are not formally obliged to do so. Otherwise, they would set an incentive for their workforce to unionise.

In comparison with employee-related extension procedures, schemes that target employers are far more important to the strength of collective bargaining in general and of multi-employer bargaining in particular. This is because employers are capable of refraining both from joining an employer organisation and also from entering single-employer bargaining in the context of a purely voluntary system. Therefore, employer-related extension practices increase the coverage of multi-employer bargaining. Moreover, when it is pervasive, an extension agreement may encourage employers to join the controlling employer organisation; such a move, in turn, enables them to participate in the bargaining process and to benefit from the organisation’s related services in a situation where the respective collective agreement will bind them in any case (see Traxler, Blaschke and Kittel, 2001).

Table 6: System of sectoral collective bargaining, 2004–2005

Country

Collective bargaining coverage (CBC)

Proportion of multi-employer bargaining (MEB) as % of total CBC

Extension practices

AT

99%

70%

(pervasive)

BE

100%

100%

pervasive

BG

20%

MEB prevailing

none

CY

n.a.

existing

none

CZ

n.a.

existing

limited

DEa

60% (west Germany)

19% (east Germany)

MEB prevailing

limited

DK

50%

90%

none

EE

71%

MEB prevailing

pervasive

EL

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

ES

100%

almost 100%

pervasive

FI

100%

100%

pervasive

FR

100%

100%

pervasive

HU

69.5%

59.8%

limited

IE

n.a.

100%

none

IT

100%

100%

(pervasive)

LT

≤ 75%

40%

none

LU

0%

0%

none

LV

0%

0%

none

MT

0.17%

0%

none

NL

100%

100%

pervasive

PL

0%

0%

none

PT

76%

98.9%

pervasive

RO

77%

100%

limited

SI

100%

100%

(pervasive)

SK

22.5%

84.2%

limited

UK

11.6%

0%

none

Notes: Collective bargaining coverage means employees covered as a percentage of the total number of employees in the sector. Multi-employer bargaining is noted relative to single-employer bargaining. Extension practices include functional equivalents to extension provisions, namely obligatory membership and labour court rulings; cases of functional equivalents appear in parentheses. a = NACE A and B.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

Collective bargaining coverage

In terms of the agricultural sector’s collective bargaining coverage, in 14 of the 21 countries for which national figures are documented, more than half of the employees are covered by a collective agreement. In Germany, distinct differences are found once again in the western and eastern parts of the country, with the western region being above the collective bargaining coverage threshold and the eastern region being clearly below this threshold. Eight of the countries even register a coverage rate of 99% or more. These high coverage rates are remarkable, since the level of unionisation in the sector is generally low, with the notable exception of Finland and Denmark.

A combination of factors account for the generally high coverage rates: namely, multi-employer bargaining backed by strong employer organisations and/or pervasive extension practices. As the results in Table 6 suggest, pervasive extension practices are the key factor behind extremely high coverage. Coverage rates of 99% or 100% are usually based on either pervasive extension of multi-employer agreements or mechanisms that work as functional equivalents to such extensions. In Slovenia, obligatory membership in employer organisations constitutes a functional equivalent to pervasive extension. Similarly, Austria’s regional chambers of agricultural workers and their chamber counterparts for farmers, which conduct bargaining, all rely on obligatory membership, while extension practices as such are rather limited. Another functional equivalent to statutory extension schemes can be found in Italy. In accordance with the country’s constitution, minimum conditions of employment must apply to all employees. The labour court rulings apply this principle to multi-employer agreements, such that they are seen as being generally binding (see IST, 2001).

In Bulgaria, east Germany and Slovakia, multi-employer bargaining prevails but lacks the support of strong employer organisations or pervasive extension practices. With a coverage rate of around 20%, these countries are therefore clearly behind those in which multi-employer bargaining dominates in combination with strong employer organisations and/or widespread extension practices. Multi-employer settlements are absent in only five countries: namely, in Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Poland and the UK. Of these countries, the UK records the highest level of coverage at just over 10%. In the remaining four countries, no notable form of collective bargaining exists. This implies that single-employer bargaining does not represent a promising alternative to multi-employer bargaining in relation to regulating employment terms in agriculture. These findings underline the significantly positive impact of multi-employer bargaining, employer organisations and extension practices on overall collective bargaining coverage. The absence of such conditions makes it difficult for the two sides of industry to enter into collective bargaining in agriculture. This is because the sector generally lacks a notable number of large companies, which are more conducive to high unionisation and related single-employer bargaining.

It is worth emphasising that a high coverage rate does not necessarily result in comprehensive collective agreements. For instance, in Hungary and Lithuania, where well over 50% of the sector’s employees are covered, multi-employer bargaining does not address the issue of wage provisions. The sector-specific conditions of the labour market not only pose an obstacle to unionisation but also place strong pressures on labour standards.

Participation in public policymaking

Interest associations may partake in public policy in two basic ways: they may be consulted by the authorities on matters affecting their members; or they may be represented on ‘corporatist’, in other words tripartite, committees and boards of policy concertation. This study considers only cases of consultation and corporatist participation that are suited to sector-specific matters. Consultation processes are not necessarily institutionalised, so that the organisations consulted by the authorities may vary according to the issues being addressed and also over time, depending on changes in government. Moreover, the authorities may initiate a consultation process on an occasional rather than a regular basis. Given this volatility, Tables 3–5 designate only those sector-related trade unions and employer organisations that are usually consulted.

Trade unions

The system of reiterated consultation applies to trade unions in the vast majority of countries for which data are available. Since a multi-union system is established in most countries, it is possible that the authorities may prefer to consult certain trade unions or that the unions compete for participation rights. However, in most countries where a noticeable practice of consultation is found, any of the existing trade unions can usually take part in the consultation processes. Finland is the main exception to this rule. In the case of Spain, the territorial leverage of the consultation process is bound to the trade unions’ corresponding range of representativeness.

Employer organisations

The sector-related employer organisations are also involved in consultation procedures in the majority of countries. As noted above, employer organisations in the sense of the earlier definition of a social partner organisation often co-exist with other business associations. Accordingly, the former type of organisation may share their consultative role with the latter. Furthermore, available data suggest that the authorities do not have a preference for either of the two sides of industry with regard to matters of consultation. If employer organisations and trade unions co-exist, then both sides of industry are either consulted or not consulted. Therefore, two main clusters of countries can be distinguished according to their consultation practices. In a number of countries – namely, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France and Slovakia – neither the trade unions nor the employer organisations are usually consulted. The second and larger cluster of countries encompasses all cases where the authorities consult any of the existing social partner organisations of business and labour. The remaining countries differ from these two clusters and also from each other. In Finland, where several organisations exist on both sides of industry, the authorities favour a general policy of preferential treatment. Romania is unique in this respect, since all of the trade unions are usually consulted, whereas only a selected number of employer organisations take part. In Slovenia, the employer organisations are regularly consulted – unlike the trade unions.

Tripartite participation

Turning from consultation to tripartite participation, the research reveals that sector-specific tripartite bodies are established in only a few of the countries, namely in Spain, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia and the UK. Table 7 summarises the main properties of the active tripartite boards of public policy. As a rule, the participants of these bodies are social partner organisations of the respective countries, although not all of the sector-related organisations listed in Tables 3–5 are represented in these bodies. However, some of the countries deviate from this pattern. In Hungary, seven trade unions and 13 business associations partake in addition to the country’s two social partner organisations – the Agricultural, Forestry and Water Management Workers’ Trade Union (Mezőgazdasági Erdészeti és Vízűgyl Dolgozók Szakszervezeti Szővetsége, MEDOSZ) and the National Federation of Workers’ Councils (Munkástanácsok Országos Szövetsége, MOSZ). In the UK, two business associations are represented, along with the social partner organisation the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). As the findings in Table 7 show, the range of tasks covered by the bodies is broadly defined in most cases. Sector-specific bodies specialised in industrial relations issues such as training and wages are established in Spain, Finland and the UK.

Table 7: Tripartite sector-specific boards of public policy

Country

Name of body and scope of activity

Origin

Participants

Trade unions

Business associations

ES

Foundation for Occupational Risk Prevention

Statutory

FA-CCOO,

FTA-UGT

ASAJA (as a member of CEOE)

 

Tripartite Foundation for Training in Employment (continuing training of workers)

Statutory

FA-CCOO,

FTA-UGT

ASAJA (as a member of CEOE)

 

Economic and Social Council (an advisory body whose aim is to reinforce the participation of the social partners in the management of the economy and employment)

Statutory

FA-CCOO,

FTA-UGT

ASAJA, COAG,

UPA, CCAE

 

Environmental Advisory Council (environmental protection in the country and in agriculture-related activities)

Agreement

FA-CCOO,

FTA-UGT

ASAJA, COAG,

UPA, CCAE

FI

Committee on Farm Relief Work

Statutory

Jyty

KT

 

Agricultural Education and Training Committee

Statutory

All trade unions and employer organisations in the sector

HU

Agriculture and Regional Development Reconciliation Council

n.a.

MEDOSZ,

Trade Union of Workers in Agrarian Research and Education (Agrároktatási és Kutatási Dolgozók Szakszervezete, AOKDSZ),

Trade Union of Employees in Veterinary and Food Safety Services (Állategészségügyi és Élelmiszer-ellenőrzési Dolgozók Szakszervezete),

Trade Union of Employees in Forestry and Wood Industry (Erdészeti és Faipari Dolgozók Szakszervezete),

Hungarian Federation of Foodworkers’ Trade Unions (Élelmezésipari Dolgozók Szakszervezeteinek Szövetsége, ÉDOSZ),

Trade Union of Hungarian Civil Servants and Public Service Employees (Magyar Köztisztviselők és Közalkalmazottak Szakszervezete, MKKSZ),

Trade Union of Employees in Science and Innovation (Tudományos és Innovációs Dolgozók Szakszervezete, TUDOSZ)

MOSZ, AMSZ,

National Alliance of Leasers of Public Land (Állami Földet Bérlők Országos Szövetsége),

Federation of Hungarian Food Industries (Élelmiszer-feldolgozók Országos Szövetsége, EFOSZ),

Hungarian Federation of Forestry and Wood Industries (Fagazdasági Országos Szakmai Szövetség, FAGOSZ),

Agricultural and Rural Youth Association Hungary (Fiatal Gazdák Magyarországi Szövetsége - AGRYA),

Hungarian Fish Farmers’ Association (Haltermelők Országos Szövetsége és Terméktanácsa, HALTERMOSZ),

National Association of Gardeners (Kertészek és Kertbarátok Országos Szövetsége),

Federation of Private Forest Owners in Hungary (Magán Erdőtulajdonosok és Gazdálkodók Országos Szövetsége, MEGOSZ),

Association of Land Owners in Hungary (Magyar Földbirtokosok Országos Szövetsége),

National Association of Hungarian Farmers’ Societies (Magyar Gazdakörök és Gazdaszövetkezetek Országos Szövetsége, MAGOSZ),

Association of Hungarian Producers’ Sales and Service Organisations and Co-operatives (Magyar Termelői Értékesítő és Szolgáltató Szervezetek/Szövetkezetek HANGYA Együttműködése, HANGYASZOV),

Association of Agricultural Enterprises (Mezőgazdasági Gazdasági Társaságok Szövetsége),

National Federation of Water Management Associations (Vízgazdálkodási Társulások Országos Szövetsége, VTOSZ)

PT

National Council of Agriculture and Rural Developmenta

Statutory

CGTP, UGT

CAP, CNA

 

National Council of Hunting and Conservation of Faunaa

Statutory

CGTP, UGT

CAP, CNA

RO

Commission for Social Dialogue

Statutory

Agrostar, CERES

FPAR

SI

Council of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food

Agreement

KZI

ZDS, GZS

UK

Agricultural Wage Board (AWB) England and Wales

Statutory

TGWU

NFU

 

Scottish AWB

Statutory

TGWU

NFUS, SRPBA

 

AWB Northern Ireland

Statutory

TGWU

Ulster Farmers’ Union

Notes: a = also includes public institutions and NGOs as participants. See Annex for list of abbreviations and full names of organisations.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006


European level of interest representation

At European level, eligibility for consultation and participation in social dialogue is linked to three criteria, as defined by the European Commission. Accordingly, a social partner organisation must meet the following attributes:

  • be cross-industry, or relate to specific sectors or categories and be organised at European level;
  • consist of organisations that are themselves an integral and recognised part of Member States’ social partner structures and with capacity to negotiate agreements, and which are representative of all Member States, as far as possible;
  • have adequate structures to ensure effective participation in the consultation process.

In terms of social dialogue, the constituent property of these structures is the ability of an organisation to negotiate on behalf of its members and to conclude binding agreements. Accordingly, this section on the European associations of the agricultural sector will analyse their sectoral membership domain, the composition of their membership and their ability to negotiate.

Membership domain

As already mentioned, there is one sector-related European trade union which participates in the sector’s European social dialogue, namely EFFAT. Covering the areas of agriculture, food and tourism, EFFAT’s membership domain is multi-sectoral and overlapping. The federation’s employer counterpart is GEOPA-COPA, which is under the umbrella of COPA. As COPA’s employer group, GEOPA-COPA specialises in dealing with employer interests and social dialogue, as opposed to the interests of farmers in other policy areas. Like COPA, its domain covers agriculture in terms of agricultural holdings involved in livestock or arable farming. This includes membership of national associations of cooperatives, although most of them are affiliated to COGECA.

Membership composition

In terms of the membership composition of EFFAT and GEOPA-COPA, it should be noted that both of these organisations have countries other than the EU Member States under their umbrella. However, unlike EFFAT, GEOPA-COPA makes a formal distinction between EU Member States and non-member countries in the sense that only the former type countries are granted full membership. This report considers only the membership of the 26 countries under examination. As already mentioned, the overview is limited to sector-related member trade unions in the case of EFFAT, and does not include affiliated unions covering food processing or tourism only.

Table 8 lists the members of EFFAT. All of the 26 countries covered in this study are under the umbrella of EFFAT. Based on available data on membership of the national trade unions (Table 3), it can be concluded that EFFAT covers the sector’s largest trade unions in the majority of countries, with the exception of Finland and Portugal, where the strongest trade unions – namely the Federation of Public and Private Sector Employees (Julkis- ja yksityisalojentoimihenkilöliitto, Jyty) in Finland and the Union of Workers in Agriculture, Food, Beverages and Tobacco Industries (SINTAB) in Portugal – are not affiliated to EFFAT. In the case of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece and Poland, comparable data on the countries’ affiliated and unaffiliated trade unions are not available. In almost all of the 26 countries, one or more members of EFFAT are engaged in sector-related collective bargaining. Exceptions in this respect are Luxembourg, Latvia and Greece. In the case of Luxembourg and Latvia, this is attributed to the fact that collective bargaining is not established in these countries (Table 6).

Table 8: Members of EFFAT, 2006
AT

GMTN*, GPA*

BE

CSC/ACV*, FGTB/ABVV*, CGSLB/ACLVB*

BG

Podkrepa**

CY

FTPAW*

CZ

OSPZV-ASO*

DE

IG Bau*

DK

DFF-S*, 3F*

EE

ETMK*

EL

Federation Panhellenique des travailleurs de l’industrie du lait, des aliments et des boissons

ES

FA-CCOO*, FTA-UGT*

FI

PL*

FR

FSCOPA-CFTC*, FGTA-FO*, FNAF-CGT*, FGA-CFDT*

HU

MEDOSZ*

IE

SIPTU*

IT

FAI*, FLAI*, UGC*, UILA*, UIMEC*, Alpa

LT

LZUDPSF*

LU

OGB-L, LCGB

LV

LLPN

MT

GWU*

NL

FNV-BG*, CNV Bedrijvenbond*

PL

ZZPR, Agricultural Workers’ Secretariat of NSZZ Solidarność, NSZZ Solidarność (Tabac)*

PT

SETAA*

RO

Agrostar*, CERES*

SI

KZI*

SK

OZPP*

UK

TGWU*

Notes: List is confined to the sector-related trade unions of the 26 countries under examination. See Annex for list of abbreviations and full names of organisations. * Involvement in sector-related collective bargaining; ** Indirect involvement in sector-related bargaining via lower-level affiliate.

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

As regards GEOPA-COPA, no national affiliations are found in the case of Luxembourg, Malta, Romania and Slovakia (Table 9). Affiliated and unaffiliated organisations co-exist in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia. Lack of comparable membership data often makes it difficult to determine the relative importance of these organisations, such as in the case of Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. Taking into account also the organisation’s role in collective bargaining as an indicator of its importance, it is clear that the most important organisations in Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal are affiliated to GEOPA-COPA. Nonetheless, in Belgium, Finland and Austria, some of the most significant employer organisations which are involved in bargaining – including the Standing Committee of the Presidents of the Employers’ Associations of Agriculture (Obmännerkonferenz der Arbeitgeberverbände der Land- und Forstwirtschaft in Österreich, OALF) in Austria and the Walloon Agricultural Federation (Fédération Wallonne de l’Agriculture, FWA) in Belgium – are not affiliated to GEOPA-COPA. At the same time, in a number of countries – more specifically, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and the UK – organisations affiliated to GEOPA-COPA are not engaged in bargaining. With the exception of Lithuania and Slovenia, no other organisation involved in collective bargaining exists in these countries. This finding can be attributed to two different reasons: firstly, collective bargaining may be absent, as is the case in Latvia and Poland; or secondly, agents other than the sector-related farmers’ organisations – for example the larger companies themselves – may engage in collective bargaining, as is the case in Ireland and the UK. In Lithuania, collective bargaining is conducted by an unaffiliated employer organisation. Compared with EFFAT, a greater number of organisations affiliated to GEOPA-COPA are not involved in bargaining. Industrial relations are therefore not the primary concern of these organisations. For instance, the Latvian Farmers’ Federation (Latvijas Zemnieku Federacija, LZF) is a member of GEOPA-COPA and reportedly does not regard itself as an employer organisation. Overall, GEOPA-COPA covers collective bargaining in 15 countries – namely, in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Table 9: Members of GEOPA-COPA, 2006
AT

PKLWK*

BE

BB*

BG

Central Cooperative Uniona

CY

Panagrarian Association (Panagrotikos)*

CZ

CMSZP*

DE

GLFA*

DK

DL*, SALA*

EE

EPTK*

EL

GESASE, PASEGES*

ES

ASAJA*

FI

MTL*

FR

FNSEA*

HU

MOSZ*

IE

IFA

IT

Confagricoltura*, Coldiretti*, CIA*

LT

LZUBA*

LU

LV

LZF

MT

NL

LTO*

PL

FZPR, KZRKIOR

PT

CAP*

RO

SI

KGZS

SK

UK

NFU

Notes: List confined to the 26 countries under consideration. See Annex for list of abbreviations and full names of organisations. a = Observing member; * Involvement in sector-related collective bargaining

Source: EIRO national centres, 2006

Capacity to negotiate

The third criterion of representativeness at European level relates to the ability of organisations to negotiate on behalf of their own members. EFFAT is mandated by its member organisations in the agricultural sector through the decisions of the annual general assembly. As its statutes specify, GEOPA-COPA is authorised by COPA to represent the sector’s employers to the Community authorities and to the sector’s trade unions in the EU, serving the specific interests of the employers in the social area. This mandate is exercised in the framework of the European social dialogue. COGECA does not participate in the European social dialogue.

In order to judge the weight of EFFAT, GEOPA-COPA and COGECA, it is necessary to examine also the other European organisations that may act as important representatives in the sector. This can be done by reviewing the European organisations to which the sector-related trade unions and employer organisations are affiliated.

In relation to the trade unions, these affiliations are listed in Table 3. Only seven of the trade unions are members of a European organisation other than EFFAT. Four of these unions are also affiliated to EFFAT. Hence, European organisations other than EFFAT represent only a small number of both sector-related trade unions and countries. They include the following organisations: the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), with four affiliations covering two countries; UNI-Europa, with two affiliations from two countries; the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF); the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) with three affiliates covering one country; the European Trade Union Federation Textiles, Clothing and Leather (ETUF-TCL), with two affiliations covering two countries; and the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF), the Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff (Eurocadres), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the European Federation of Retired Personnel (FERPA), and the European Workers’ Education Association, each of which has one affiliation covering one country. These affiliations usually result from the multi-sector domain of the respective trade unions. Hence, they involve member groups other than those pertaining to agriculture. The affiliation of two Finnish trade unions to EPSU mainly seems to relate to agriculture, arising from the notable involvement of the state in agricultural production. The same holds true for white-collar trade unions and their corresponding affiliation to UNI-Europa.

An overview of the European membership of employer organisations can be derived from Table 5. Affiliation to GEOPA-COPA usually coincides with membership of its umbrella organisation COPA. Other affiliations most frequently involve those to COGECA. Among the employer organisations listed, 13 organisations covering 11 countries are members of COGECA. This finding underlines the relevance of COGECA as a European voice for agricultural cooperatives. However, COGECA has refrained from participating in social dialogue in the sector. COGECA’s domain shows a sectional overlap with the sector. Membership of European organisations other than GEOPA-COPA and COGECA differ widely across the national employer organisations listed in Table 5. As a rule, they involve highly specialised European organisations, such as the European Pig Selection and Production Association (EPSPA) and the European Forest Nursery Association (EFNA). This explains why these affiliations are not found in clusters of countries or organisations. Any of these organisations count merely one association as an affiliate (Table 5), with the exception of the following two organisations: the European Confederation of Agriculture (CEA), with three affiliations covering three countries, and the European Landscape Contractors’ Association (ELCA), with two affiliations covering two countries.


Commentary

Compared with other sectors, the agricultural sector has a number of distinct characteristics, in particular: the spread of atypical employment, the continuing similarities between farms as a production unit and as a household unit, and the high regulation of the sector’s product markets. These economic characteristics have, in turn, had an influence on industrial relations in the sector. In particular, they have resulted in relatively low levels of unionisation, a profile of farmers’ organisations that is fairly distinct from that of employer organisations in other sectors, and the formation of cooperatives as self-help farmers’ organisations – a development which has given rise to separate umbrella associations of these cooperatives.

Despite the low rate of unionisation, collective bargaining coverage is quite high in most of the countries under consideration due to the predominance of multi-employer bargaining, which is usually backed by pervasive extension practices and strong employer organisations. In countries lacking multi-employer bargaining, coverage is very low since single-employer bargaining is barely feasible as a result of the sector’s low degree of economic concentration and unionisation. Since multi-employer bargaining prevails in most countries, the national social partner organisations do have a grip on the labour market. Nonetheless, it should be noted that a significant informal labour market segment is also evident in the sector.

As regards associational structures, the membership domains of the trade unions tend to be more encompassing than those of their employer counterparts. The national trade unions usually embrace multi-sector domains. In many cases, these result from vertically integrated structures that combine agriculture and food processing. Similarly, EFFAT, the European voice of trade unions in the sector, is also a multi-sector organisation. The membership domains of the farmers’ organisations focus on agriculture in the broad sense. They co-exist alongside associations of cooperatives, a trend which has given rise to sectionalist demarcation at both national and European levels. The fact that farmers are rarely employers has resulted in the formation of a special employer group, namely GEOPA-COPA, within the framework of COPA. GEOPA-COPA represents employers in matters concerning the European social dialogue.

EFFAT covers all of the 26 countries under consideration in this report, usually representing their most important trade union organisations. Conversely, the scope of GEOPA-COPA appears to be less widespread, reflecting the rather limited proportion of employers among farmers. Nonetheless, both EFFAT and GEOPA-COPA are unmatched in their respective roles as the European voice of employees and employers in the agricultural sector, particularly since no other European organisation can compare with these two bodies in terms of organising the relevant sector-related industrial relations actors across the various European countries.

Franz Traxler, Department of Industrial Sociology, University of Vienna


Annex: List of abbreviations

Country

Abbreviation

Full name

Austria (AT)

GMTN

Metalworking, Textiles, Agriculture and Food-processing Union

 

GÖD

Union of Public Services

 

GPA

Union of Salaried Private Sector Employees

 

LAK

Chambers for Agricultural Employees

 

LFB

Agriculture and Forestry Workers’ Association

 

OALF

Standing Committee of the Presidents of the Employers’ Associations of Agriculture

 

ÖGB

Austrian Federation of Trade Unions

 

PKLWK

Austrian Chamber of Agriculture

Belgium (BE)

AVBS

Belgian Nurserymen and Growers’ Federation

 

AEJB-VBTA

Belgian Association of Garden Entrepreneurs

 

BB

Federation of Belgian Farmers

 

CGSLB/ACLVB

Federation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium

 

CSC/ACV

Confederation of Christian Trade Unions, Food and Services Centre

 

FGTB/ABVV

Belgian General Federation of Labour, Central Food, Horeca and Services

 

FWA

Walloon Agricultural Federation

Bulgaria (BG)

CITUB

Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria

 

Podkrepa

Confederation of Labour Podkrepa

Cyprus (CY)

Agrotiki

Pancyprian Farmers’ Organisation

 

DEOK

Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus

 

EKA

Union of Cypriot Farmers

 

FAOK

Agrarian Organisations Agency of Cyprus

 

FTPAW

Federation of Transport Petroleum and Agricultural Workers of Cyprus

 

PEK

Panagrarian Union of Cyprus

 

PEO

Pancyprian Federation of Labour

 

SEK

Cyprus Workers’ Confederation

Czech Republic (CZ)

ASO

Association of Free Unions of the Czech Republic

 

CSZP

Czech-Moravian Association of Agricultural Entrepreneurs

 

KZPS

Confederation of Employers’ and Entrepreneurs’ Associations of the Czech Republic

 

OSPZV-ASO

Association of Agriculture and Food Workers – Association of Free Unions of the Czech Republic

 

ZSCR

Agricultural Association of the Czech Republic

Germany (DE)

BDA

Confederation of German Employers’ Associations

 

DGB

Confederation of German Trade Unions

 

GLFA

Confederation of the German Employers’ Associations in Agriculture and Forestry

 

IG Bau

Trade Union for Building, Forestry, Agriculture and the Environment

Denmark (DK)

3F

United Federation of Danish Workers

 

DAG

Association of Landscape Gardeners

 

DANSIRE

Owned by the Danish A.I. Centre Dansire

 

DFF-S

Danish Clerical Union

 

DL

Danish Agriculture

 

FDI

Organisation of Danish Inseminators

 

FTF

Confederation of Salaried Employees and Civil Servants in Denmark

 

GLS-A

Employers’ Association for Agriculture, Gardening and Forestry

 

JID

Union of Danish Agricultural, Environmental and Horticultural Technologists

 

LO

Danish Confederation of Trade Unions

 

SALA

Danish Confederation of Employers’ Associations in Agriculture

 

SBA

Employers’ Association in the Service Sector

Estonia (EE)

Ekseko TU

Ekseko Trade Union

 

EPTK

Estonian Agricultural Producers’ Central Union

 

ETMK

Confederation of Estonian Food and Landworkers’ Unions

Greece (EL)

GESASE

General Confederation of Greek Agricultural Unions

 

OSEGO

Federation of Unions of Workers in Greek Agriculture Associations

 

PASEGES

Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives

 

SAP

Agricultural Policy Council

Spain (ES)

ASAJA

Agrarian Association of Young Farmers

 

CCAE

Confederation of Spanish Agricultural Cooperatives

 

CCOO

Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions

 

CEOE

Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organisations

 

CEPES

Spanish Business Confederation for Social Economy

 

CEPYME

Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

 

COAG

Coordinating Organisation of Farmers

 

FA-CCOO

Agri-Food Federation of the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions

 

FTA-UGT

Agri-Food Federation of the General Workers’ Confederation

 

OJAS

General Council of Multi-Sector Agri-Food Organisations

 

UGT

General Union of Workers

 

UPA

Union of Small Farmers

Finland (FI)

AEK

Central Union of Special Branches within AKAVA

 

Agronomiliitto

Finnish Association of Academic Agronomists

 

AKAVA

Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals

 

ET

Employers’ Association of the Special Branches

 

JHL

Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sector

 

Jyty

Federation of Public and Private Sector Employees

 

KT

Commission for Local Authority Employers

 

MTL

Federation of Agricultural Employers

 

Pardia

Federation of Salaried Employees Pardia

 

PL

Wood and Allied Workers’ Union

 

SAK

Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions

 

STTK

Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees

France (FR)

CFDT

French Democratic Confederation of Labour

 

CFE-CGC

French Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff – General Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff

 

CFTC

French Christian Workers’ Confederation

 

CGC

General Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff

 

CGT

General Confederation of Labour

 

CGT-FO

General Confederation of Labour – Force Ouvrière

 

FGA-CFDT

Agriculture and Foodworkers’ Federation – French Democratic Federation of Labour

 

FGTA-FO

Federation of Workers in Agriculture, Food, Tobacco and Allied Services – Force Ouvrière

 

FNAF-CGT

Fédération nationale agroalimentaire et forestière – General Confederation of Labour

 

FNSEA

National Federation of Farm Operators’ Unions

 

FSCOPA-CFTC

Fédération des syndicats chrétiens des organismes et professions de l’agriculture – French Christian Workers’ Confederation

 

SNCEA-CGC

Agriculture Managers’ Union – General Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff

 

UNSA

National Federation of Independent Unions

Hungary (HU)

AGRYA

Agricultural and Rural Youth Association

 

AMSZ

Agrarian Employers’ Federation

 

AOKDSZ

Trade Union of Workers in Agrarian Research and Education

 

ÉDOSZ

Federation of Foodworkers’ Trade Unions

 

EFOSZ

Federation of Hungarian Food Industries

 

FAGOSZ

Hungarian Federation of Forestry and Wood Industries

 

HALTERMOSZ

Hungarian Fish Farmers’ Association

 

HANGYASZOV

Association of Hungarian Producers’ Sales and Service Organisations and Cooperatives

 

MAGOSZ

National Association of Hungarian Farmers’ Societies

 

MEDOSZ

Agricultural, Forestry and Water Management Workers’ Trade Union

 

MEGOSZ

Federation of Private Forest Owners in Hungary

 

MKKSZ

Trade Union of Hungarian Civil Servants and Public Service Employees

 

MOSZ

National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives and Producers

 

MSZOSZ

National Association of Hungarian Trade Unions

 

TUDOSZ

Trade Union of Employees in Science and Innovation

 

VTOSZ

National Federation of Water Management Associations

Ireland (IE)

ICTU

Irish Congress of Trade Unions

 

IFA

Irish Farmers’ Association

 

IVU

Irish Veterinary Union

 

SIPTU

Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union

 

VOA

Veterinary Officers’ Association

Italy (IT)

AGICA

Italian General Association Agricultural Cooperatives

 

Alpa

Association of Agricultural Producer Workers

 

ANCA

National Association of Agro-food Cooperatives

 

Andaa

National Association of Agricultural Farm Managers

 

CGIL

General Confederation of Italian Workers

 

CIA

Italian Farmers’ Confederation

 

CIDA

Confederation of Managers

 

CISL

Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions

 

Coldiretti

National Farm Independent Farmers’ Confederation

 

Confagricoltura

General Confederation of Agriculture

 

Confederdia

Italian Confederation of Agricultural Managers and Employees

 

Copagri

Confederation of Agricultural Producers

 

FAI

Agro-food Environment Industrial Federation

 

Fedagri – Confcooperative

National Federation of Agricultural and Agro-food Cooperatives

 

FLAI

Agro-food Industry Workers’ Federation

 

Legacoop

Lega Nazionale delle Cooperative e Mutue

 

UGC

General Farmers’ Union

 

UIL

Union of Italian Workers

 

UILA

Italian Agro-food Industry Workers’ Union

 

UIMEC

Italian Sharecropper and Independent Farmers’ Union

Lithuania (LT)

LPSK

Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation

 

LUS

Lithuanian Farmers’ Union

 

LZUBA

Lithuanian Association of Agricultural Companies

 

LZUDPSF

Trade Union Federation of Lithuanian Agricultural Workers

 

ZUR

Chamber of Agriculture

Luxembourg (LU)

OGB-L

Luxembourg Confederation of Independent Trade Unions

 

LCGB

Luxembourg Christian Trade Union Confederation

Latvia (LV)

LBAS

Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia

 

LDDK

Latvian Employers’ Confederation

 

LLPN

Trade Union of Agriculture and Food Industry Workers

 

LOSP

Cooperation Council of Agriculture Organisations

 

LZF

Latvian Farmers’ Federation

Malta (MT)

GWU

General Workers’ Union

Netherlands (NL)

CNV

Christian Trade Union Federation

 

CUMULA

Federation of Contracting Firms

 

FNV

Federation of Dutch Trade Unions

 

FNV-BG

FNV Bondgenoten

 

LTO

Netherlands Agriculture and Horticulture Organisation

 

VHG

Association of Landscaping Companies

Poland (PL)

FZPR

Federation of Agricultural Employer-Leaseholder and Owner Unions

 

KZRKIOR

National Union of Farmers and Agricultural Clubs and Organisations

 

NSZZ Solidarność Agriculture

NSZZ Solidarity Agriculture

 

NSZZ Solidarność Tabac

NSZZ Solidarity Tabac

 

ZZPR

Trade Union of Agricultural Workers in the Republic of Poland

Portugal (PT)

AAACMS

Association of Farmers in Abrantes, Constância, Mação and Sardoal

 

AABA

Association of Farmers in the Lower Alentejo Region

 

AAR

Association of Farmers in the Ribatejo Region

 

AAVFX

Association of Farmers in the Council Area of Vila Franca de Xira

 

AAVR

Association of Farmers in Vila Real

 

AIP

Portuguese Association of Industry

 

ALIS

Free Association of Pig Breeders

 

ANEFA

National Association of Companies in Forestry, Agriculture and Environment

 

CAP

Portuguese Farmers’ Confederation

 

CGTP

General Portuguese Workers’ Confederation

 

CNA

National Confederation of Agriculture

 

FESAHT

Federation of Unions in Agriculture, Food and Beverages Industries, Hotels and Tourism of Portugal

 

FPAS

Portuguese Federation of Pig Breeders’ Associations

 

SETAA

Union of Agriculture, Food and Forests

 

SINTAB

Union of Workers in Agriculture, Food, Beverages and Tobacco Industries of Portugal

 

UGT

General Workers’ Confederation

Romania (RO)

AGPAR/PMPA

General Association of Agricultural Producers in Romania

 

AGROSTAR

National Federation of Trade Unions in Agriculture, Food, Tobacco, Domains and Related Services

 

BNS

National Trade Union Bloc

 

Cartel Alfa

Cartel Alfa Confederation

 

CERES

National Trade Unions Centre in Agriculture, Food Industry, Tourism and Related Activities

 

CNPR

National Confederation of Romanian Employers

 

FPAR

Federation of Romanian Employers’ Organisations in Agriculture

 

Horticultural Association

Horticultural Employers’ Association in Romania

 

LAPAR

Romanian Agricultural Producers’ Associations League

 

NUTRICOMB

National Employers’ Association

 

PNVV

National Employers’ Organisation in Vineyards and Wine

 

ROMAGRIA

Food Industry ROMAGRIA

 

UCPR

Union of Poultry Breeders in Romania

 

UGIR 1903

General Union of Romanian Industrialists

 

UNPAR

National Union of Agricultural Producers in Romania

Slovenia (SI)

GZS

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

 

KGZS

Agricultural and Forestry Chamber of Slovenia

 

KZI

Trade Union of Agriculture and Food Industry of Slovenia

 

ZDS

Slovenian Employers’ Association

 

ZSSS

Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia

 

ZZS

Cooperative Union of Slovenia

Slovakia (SK)

KOZ SR

Central Confederation of Trade Unions

 

OZPP

Sectoral Trade Union of Agriculture Workers

 

PZZ

Agricultural Employers’ Association

United Kingdom (UK)

ABW

Agricultural Wage Boards

 

NFU

National Farmers’ Union

 

NFUS

National Farmers’ Union Scotland

 

SRPBA

Scottish Rural Property and Business Association

 

TGWU

Transport and General Workers’ Union

 

TUC

Trades Union Congress

Europe

AEIR

European Association of Interventions for Land Reorganisations

 

AEVP

Export Association for Porto-Wine

 

CEA

European Confederation of Agriculture

 

CEEP

European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest

 

CEETTAR

European Confederation of Technical Companies for Agriculture and Rural Work

 

CEJA

European Council of Young Farmers

 

CEPF

Confederation of European Forest Owners

 

CERM

Council of European Municipalities and Regions

 

COGECA

General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union

 

COPA

Committee of Agricultural Employers’ Organisations

 

EFBWW

European Federation of Building and Wood Workers

 

EFCI

European Federation of Cleaning Industries

 

EFFAT

European Federation of Trade Unions in Food, Agriculture and Tourism

 

EFNA

European Forest Nursery Association

 

EICTA

European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Industry Technology Association

 

ELCA

European Landscape Contractors’ Association

 

EMCEF

European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation

 

EMF

European Metalworkers’ Federation

 

ENA

European Nursery Stock Association

 

EPSPA

European Pig Selection and Production Association

 

EPSU

European Federation of Public Service Unions

 

ETF

European Transport Workers’ Federation

 

ETUC

European Trade Union Confederation

 

ETUF-TCL

European Trade Union Federation –Textiles, Clothing and Leather

 

Eurocadres

Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff

 

FIPA

International Federation of Agricultural Producers

 

GEOPA-COPA

Employers’ Group of the Committee of Agricultural Organisations in the EU – Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations

EF/07/70

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