Industrial relations in the public sector – Lithuania

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 10 Diciembre 2008


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This report presents an overview of industrial relations in the central government and public sector in Lithuania.

1. Structure of the public sector in Lithuania

1. The definition of the public sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered (e.g. central government, local government, health sector, education, others)?

There is no single, commonly accepted and used definition of the ‘public sector’ in Lithuania. Lithuanian Statistics uses the following definition of ‘public sector’: “Public sector covers public enterprises, institutions and organisations, also enterprises where the State controls 50% and more of the authorised capital”.

In Lithuania, there is different legislation governing the working conditions of different employees of the public sector. Basing on this legislation, public sector employees may be grouped into the following categories:

  • State politicians, judges and public officials,
  • Civil servants,
  • Other employees of state agencies and organisations employed under employment contracts.

2. The definition of the central government sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered?

There is no commonly accepted and used definition of ‘central government sector’ in Lithuania either. Civil servants account for the majority of ‘ministry employees’; so further in this report we will address namely civil servants.

A legal status of civil servants is defined by special Law on Civil Service(LCS). In this Law, civil servants are divided into:

  • Career civil servants,
  • Civil servants of political (personal) confidence,
  • Statutory civil servants,
  • Public managers.

The absolute majority of ministry employees (~90% according to expert assessments) are career civil servants. A career civil servant means a civil servant admitted to the service for an indefinite term, and with an opportunity to seek a higher position in the civil service.

In addition, a small share of ministry employees are civil servants of political (personal) confidence (Civil servants of political (personal) confidence mean civil servants admitted to the service for the term coinciding with the term of powers of state politicians or collegial state agency who have chosen them or for the term specified in other laws) and employees admitted to the service under employment contracts.

3. The following data:

Table 1. Employment and population
Year Central government* Public sector Total Employees(all economy) Total Population
Men Women Men Women Men Women

























* civil servants working in ministries, at the end of each year

4. Please indicate whether fixed-term employment and part-time work are typical of certain organisational areas in the central government sector (for instance, top job positions rather than lower-level occupations) or group of workers (such as employees approaching retirement, new recruits, women, technicians, and the like)

Traditionally, the absolute majority of employees (except for employees admitted to the service to substitute temporary absent employees) are employed under non-term contracts in the central government sector. The exception here is civil servants of political (personal) confidence who are admitted to the service for the term of powers of state politicians or ‘collegial state agency who have chosen them or for the term specified in other laws’. Part-time work is also not typical for the central government sector in Lithuania.

5. Please indicate the presence and quantitative relevance of non-standard employment relationships in the central government sector, and especially of temporary agency work and service contracts with individuals or other non-standard contractual relationships that are important in your country.

Employment relationships of civil servants are governed by the LCS, which does not provide for any non-standard forms of work organisation. Accordingly, civil servants are in most cases employed under non-term employment contracts.

Where a state agency needs an employee who is not attributed to the category of civil servants, the agency usually concludes a non-term employment contract with such employee as well.

2. Employment regulation

1. Public sector vs. private sector.

1. Do (certain) public sector employees enjoy special status compared with private sector employees?

As it was mentioned before, a legal status of civil servants is governed by the LCS. Employees of the private sector are applied the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania (LC). The LC applies to civil servants to an extent relevant issues are not regulated by special laws. Accordingly, the legal status of civil servants is different compared to other employees.

After adoption of the LCS, economic and social status of civil servants became (and still is) better compared to private sector employees. Traditionally, they enjoy better social guarantees, receive quite high (and what is important most of all – stable and guaranteed) remuneration for work, enjoy all conditions for improvement, qualification raising, etc. However, civil service was and remains to be less flexible compared to the private sector. The latter feature enabled equalisation of economic situation in private and public sectors in a course of time, though social security has remained nonetheless higher in the public sector compared to the private one.

2. Do all public sector employees have the same status or are there differences between different groups of employees, as, for instance, between civil servants, clerical employees and workers?

Civil servants employed in the central government sector act in compliance with the LCS, while other employees (who are not civil servants) in the central government are applied the LC. It should be noted that adoption of the LCS created quite an “unhealthy” climate in such Lithuanian state agencies where employees of both categories (civil servants and persons employed under employment contracts) were employed, because working conditions of employees in one agency and, quite often, in one room were governed by different legislation. Compared to individuals employed under employment contracts, civil servants receive higher remuneration for work, enjoy better social guarantees and opportunities to improve their qualifications, etc.

Working conditions of other public sector employees are also regulated by different legislation: police officers comply with the Statute of the Internal Service, teachers comply with the Law on Education and the LC, etc.

If public sector employees enjoy special status(es), please specify:1. The distinctive features of (each) public sector employment status, highlighting the main differences with the status of private sector employees (and, if relevant, among the various public sector statuses). In particular, indicate whether such differences involve the rights: i) of association; ii) to bargaining collectively; iii) to strike.

Both private and public sector employees have the right of association, to bargaining collectively and to strike. However, there are certain restrictions in the public sector. The mentioned restrictions differ subject to each group of public sector employees.

Strikes are prohibited in the internal affairs, national defence and state security systems (except for people employed in these areas under employment contracts) and in frontline medical aid services. The demands put forward by employees of these systems and enterprises shall be dealt with by the government, taking into account the opinion of the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos Trišalė taryba, LRTT) (LT0510102F).

The employer must be given at least 14 days' written notice of the strike where a decision is taken to hold a strike (including a warning strike) in: railways and public transport; civil aviation; communications and energy enterprises; healthcare and pharmaceutical institutions; food, water, sewage and waste disposal enterprises; centralised supply of electricity, heating and gas; oil refineries; enterprises with a continuous production cycle; and other enterprises where cessation of work would result in grave and hazardous consequences for the community or human life and health. During a strike in these areas, minimum conditions (ie services) necessary for meeting the immediate vital needs of society must be ensured (LT0510102F).

Employees of all categories in the public sector are allowed to enter into collective agreements, but here practical problems are often faced in this respect: in the civil service sector, the manager of the agency is not always granted powers to negotiate on additional guarantees for the employees, while higher agencies according to the level of subordination do not assume the function of the employer.

2. The requirements that must be fulfilled to gain (each) such special status(es): i) pass a public examination; ii) achieve a certain tenure in the position; c) in terms of nationality; d) other specific conditions.

In order to be admitted to the position of a civil servant, a person must fulfil the following general requirements:

  • citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania;
  • command of the Lithuanian language;
  • age limit: the minimum shall be 18 years, and the maximum shall be 62 years and 6 months;
  • education necessary for discharging the duties of a civil servant of an appropriate category.

Normally, persons are admitted to the positions of civil servants through competition and have to pass written and oral examinations (test and interview).

2. Central government. Please indicate whether and how this special employment status regulation applies to central government employees.

As the absolute majority of a central government employee are civil servants, they are applied all the above-mentioned conditions applicable for the admission to the position/work of civil servants.

3. Please fill in the following table:

Table 3. Status of central government employees*
Year Total employees A Career civil servants B Civil servant of political (personal) confidence













* civil servants working in ministries, at the end of a year (information provided by the Civil Service Department (Valstybės tarnybos departamentas, VTD). As already mentioned, there is a small share of persons employed under employment contracts in the ministries of Lithuania, but the VDT provides no information of this kind.

4. Please indicate the elements of the employment relationship of central government employees which are regulated by:

1. Specific legislation.

As it was mentioned before, a legal status of civil servants is defined and regulated by the LCS. Employment relations that are not covered by the mentioned law are regulated by the provisions of the LC which also apply to the hired (both in private and public sectors) employees.

The LCS regulates the following areas of employment relationship:

  • requirements for the recruitment to the civil service,
  • duties and rights of civil servants,
  • career development of civil servants,
  • remuneration and other payments,
  • responsibility and incentives,
  • social and other guarantees,
  • loss of the civil servant status,
  • training of civil servants.

2. Collective bargaining.

State and municipal institutions seldom conclude collective agreements, so they have little to do with the regulation of employment relations of civil servants. In addition, the civil service does not provide for an opportunity to bargain about the finance-related issues. There is no collective bargaining in the ministries of the country, because there are no employees’ representatives (trade unions or labour councils) in the ministries.

5. Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reform of employment regulation in the central government sector since the 1990s has affected:

1. The status of workers.

On 11 March 1990, when the Republic of Lithuania was reinstated, it was also necessary to re-establish a system of governance and public administration. In 1991, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, LRV) passed a resolution ‘On the Temporary Experimental Procedure for Remuneration for Work to Heads and Other Officials of State Power, State Administration and Law Enforcement Bodies’, whereby the category of ‘state power, state administration and law enforcement’ officials and some conditions of work of such officials were defined in independent Lithuania for the first time.

In 1995, the Law on the Officials of the Republic of Lithuania was adopted. This law laid down fundamentals for the current LCS. The mentioned law determined ‘the concept of civil service, the procedure of employment in the service, compliance with the procedure, the rights, duties and responsibilities of officials and termination of employment relations’. According to this law, officials were divided into officials of ‘A’ and ‘B’ levels (for more details see

The law on Civil Service was adopted in Lithuania on 8 July 1999. Throughout the validity of the LCS, civil servants were not allowed to work as hired employees in private legal entities, state or municipal institutions as well as public institutions and to get a salary other than set out by this Law. However, in 2004 the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucinis Teismas) pronounced that the above-mentioned provision contradicts the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and this provision was amended thereafter. With effect from 1 July 2006 civil servants are allowed to work under employment contracts unless this ignites a conflict of public and private interests, prevents them from performing the duties of civil servants, and provided that civil servants have obtained a permission to take another employment (such permission shall be issued on a year-to year basis, for a period of up to one year, by a person who admitted the civil servant to the mentioned position).

2. The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

An article regulating conclusion of collective agreements in civil service was incorporated into the LCS only in 2003. This Article stipulated that ‘a collective agreement is a written agreement between the employer and civil servants of a state or municipal institution or agency concerning the conditions of service (work) and other social and economic conditions’. The Law also provides for the following provisions to be included in a collective agreement, where appropriate:

  • service (work) and rest hours of civil servants;
  • creation of safe and health-friendly conditions of service (work);
  • payment of remuneration for work;
  • procedure of fulfilment of the collective agreement;
  • qualification improvement;
  • mutual information and consultations of the parties;
  • other conditions, unless they contradict other valid legislation and make the status of civil servants worse.

However, collective agreement may not ‘set additional conditions related to additional funds of the national and municipal budgets and state-owned money’.

3. Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

The LCS does not regulate the procedure of collective labour disputes. Such disputes are governed by the provisions of the LC.

6. Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reorganisation and restructuring in the central government sector since the 1990s, for instance through the establishment of special agencies or the separation of specific bodies and offices, has affected:

1. The status of significant groups of workers.2. The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.3. Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

Since 1990s, there were ongoing processes of establishing and winding up central government institutions: subordination of some state institutions changed, the number of LRV institutions grew, new central government institutions were established for dealing with new tasks of governmental regulation. To tackle the issues not attributed to the competence of ministries, the LRV was establishing state agencies – departments, services, agencies, inspectorates and other institutions performing the functions of control and accounting.

In a result of the mentioned changes, the status of some central government sector employees changed – from employees working under employment contracts they turned to civil servants (or vice versa), from statutory civil servants they turned to career civil servants, etc. Yet, the status of central government sector employees has not changed in essence.

The mentioned changes didn’t have any affect on the balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships as well as on other relevant industrial relations dimensions, either.

3. Pay levels and determination

1. The presence and relevance of collective bargaining on pay in the central government sector.

As it was mentioned above, there isn’t a single trade union established and a collective agreement signed at the ministries. Since the LCS stipulates that a collective agreement may not ‘set additional conditions related to additional funds of the national and municipal budgets and state-owned money’, collective agreements entered in other state institutions do not address provisions relating to the remuneration for work to civil servants.

2. The number and scope of bargaining units on pay within the central government sector.

There isn’t a single unit at all.

3. Do minimum wage levels vary across the different bargaining units within the central government sector? Are there common minimum wage levels in the whole public sector?

For the time being, there is a single minimum wage level valid in Lithuania (LTL 600 (EUR 174) since 1 July 2006 and applicable to both private and public sector.

4. Is there a single job classification system for the whole central government sector?

A single job classification system is applied to civil servants which account for the absolute majority of central government sector employees.

All positions of civil servants are divided into 20 categories (the 20th being the highest and the 1st being the lowest). In addition, there are three qualification grades of civil servants (the first is the highest and the third is the lowest).

5. Wage levels and wage increases in the central government and private sectors since 2000 (table 4). If there are great variations across bargaining units within the central government sector, please briefly illustrate such variations.

Table 4. Central government and private sector: wage levels** and increases since 2000 (average)***
Year Central government* Private sector
Level € Annual increase % Level € Annual increase %































* Legislative and executive activities of central administrative institutions (NACE 75.11.60)

** average monthly wage

*** in the 3rd quarter of 2000-2005

6. The presence and relevance of variable performance-related pay in the central government sector. Please indicate whether variable pay is particularly relevant in certain bargaining units or organisational areas (for instance, top job positions, officers, or other occupations).

Though in the central government sector there is no bargaining over the remuneration for work, the LCS stipulates that the remuneration of a civil servants shall be comprised of:

  • basic salary;
  • bonus;
  • additional pay.

The basic salary depends on the grade of civil servants.

Civil servants are paid the following bonuses:

  • for the number of years in the service for the State of Lithuania (further “the years in the service”),
  • for the qualification grade or qualification category,
  • for the official grade or rank,
  • for the diplomatic rank.

The above mentioned bonuses may not exceed 55% of the basic salary.

Civil servants are paid the following additional pays:

  • for work on days off, holidays and at night,
  • for work in harmful, highly harmful and hazardous conditions,
  • for performing duties which exceed the usual work load or for performing assignments which exceed the normal length of work. (This additional pay may be paid for a period not exceeding one year after the granting thereof).

The above mentioned additional pays may not exceed 60% of the basic salary. The aggregate total of bonuses and additional pays may not exceed 70% of the basic salary.

7. Are there any form of “benchmarking” of wage dynamics in the central government sector with other public sectors or with the private sector? If yes, are industrial relations actors involved in such benchmarking activity?

The size of the remuneration for work in the central government sector is not linked to any other amount and is not subject to indexation either.

4. Union presence and density

1. Trade unions which are present in the various bargaining units of the central government sector, their number, affiliation, representational domain, membership, and the sectoral union density (data by gender). Please fill in the following table:

Table 5. Trade unions
Union Affiliation Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present Membership
Women Men

(A) Lithuanian Trade Union of State Employees ( Lietuvos valstybės tarnautojų profesinė sąjunga, LVTPS)

Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (Lietuvos profesinių sąjungų konfederacija, LPSK), PSI, EPSU

Representation of civil servants, employees and some statutory civil servants from central government authorities, municipal institutions.

Sharing in collective bargaining about collective agreements in agencies



(B) Trade Union of Civil Servants (Valstybės tarnautojų profesinė sąjunga, VTPS)

Lithuanian Labour Federation (Lietuvos darbo federacija, LDF)

Representation of civil servants of central government authorities.

Not involved in collective bargaining.



Sectoral union density




(A) LVTPS is the biggest sectoral trade union joining career civil servants. It has about 3100 members (but this trade union joins not only civil servants). Members of the LVTPS have signed 12 collective agreements on enterprise level. These agreements cover 2600 employees (according to 2005 data).

(B) VTPS joins employees from three state agencies. It has not concluded any collective agreement.

2. Please provide information on the diffusion within the central government sector of craft unions, professional unions, or unions which are not affiliated to peak associations.

In Lithuania there are independent trade unions of civil servants as well. Such unions do not belong to any sectoral trade union or belong to a sector which is not directly related to the representation of civil servants. As these trade unions do not belong to any larger organisation and function in one institution only, there is no reliable information about them.

3. Are there any formal procedures or rules which aim to assess the representativeness of the various unions? If yes, please, briefly illustrate the content of such procedures or rules. Do these procedures or rules affect the access of the various unions to trade union prerogatives or to the bargaining table? If yes, please specify such effects and any possible limitations.

Neither the Lithuanian legislation, nor the trade unions themselves define the criteria of representativeness. All functioning trade unions exercise equal rights of representation of their members.

5. Employer representation

1. Who does represent the central government at the bargaining table? Are there specific independent bodies, such as agencies, or negotiations are carried out under the responsibility of political actors, such as ministers?2. If negotiations are carried out by specific independent bodies, please indicate how they are organised. In particular, specify whether there are guidelines or other directives set by political actors and how the tasks of the independent bodies are carried out. For instance, negotiations have to follow specific stages?3. If negotiations are carried under the direct responsibility of political actors, please indicate how they are organised. For instance, do negotiations take place under the responsibility of a single ministry, for instance the Finance Ministry, or are they carried out by a delegation or in a different way?4. Do collective agreements in the central government sector have to pass an ex-post “validation” procedure, for instance to certify their compliance with budget constraints? If present, please briefly illustrate such procedure and the consequences of failure to pass it.

The LCS specifies that ‘when entering into a collective agreement, the employer shall be represented by the head of a state or municipal institution/agency or his/her authorised person, and civil servants shall be represented by a trade union of civil servants functioning at the state or municipal institution or agency’. This formulation, however, implies that a collective agreement shall be signed in a particular state or municipal institution only. Accordingly, a possibility of concluding sectoral collective agreements is not stipulated in the law. Therefore, civil servants may sign collective agreements on the level of individual institutions only.

This year the trade unions of civil servants submitted amendments of the LCS to the LRTT. These amendments were intended to define an employers’ organisation in the civil service. The mentioned amendments would enable conclusion of sectoral collective agreements in the civil service. Similar amendments were submitted in order to define employers’ organisations in the field of education and health care. Unfortunately, the amendments were not supported by the representatives of state institutions.

6. Collective bargaining and conflict in central government

1. The structure of collective bargaining and, in particular, the number and scope of bargaining units, both at central (national) and decentralised (workplace and territorial) levels.

As it was mentioned before, there are no possibilities to sign a sectoral collective agreement in the civil service sector, because the laws do not stipulate which state institution should assume the role of employers’ organisation at sectoral level. Accordingly, collective agreements in this area are made on the level of individual institutions. The LVTPS has signed 12 collective agreements at company level in total, but there is no collective bargaining taking place in the central government sector (at the ministries).

In order to initiate collective bargaining at national level, the trade unions joining civil servants have recently attempted to establish a bipartite council of civil servants (LT0602101N), but these efforts have been fruitless so far.

2. The duration of agreements and the presence and content of peace obligations.

In Lithuania, collective agreements of institutions are usually made for a two years’ period, but there are no agreements at the central government.

3. The main issues of collective bargaining by referring to the latest renewals.

Usually, collective agreements of institutions include all issues bargaining over which is allowed in the LCS (see section 2.5.2).

4. Levels and recent trends in conflict.

Conflicts are rare in the field of civil service. Usually, there are individual labour disputes that are settled in courts. Trade unions representing civil servants sometime hold pickets or other campaigns, but they are more related to legislation than to the settlement of collective disputes.

5. The presence and main features of forms of regulation of labour conflict and collective dispute resolution procedures. Please indicate whether such rules are specific to the central government sector, or apply to the whole public sector, or are general and cover both public and private sectors.

LC defines equal procedures for the settlement of collective disputes and individual labour disputes both in the private sector and public sector.

7. Commentary by the NC

In general, industrial relations in the central government sector are exceptionally underdeveloped. The basic reason for this is unwillingness of the State to assume the role of a social partner in the social dialogue. Though the situation about the social dialogue is quite problematic throughout the public sector in Lithuania, it is even more complicated in the central government sector because of the absence of trade unions. Employment relations in the central government sector are strictly and minutely regulated by laws, and therefore many central government employees even don’t know that they are entitled to establish a trade union or labour council to have their interests represented.

As it was mentioned before, trade unions representing civil servants have recently attempted to initiate the establishment of a bipartite council at national level in order to consider issues relevant for civil servants and, eventually, to hold collective bargaining and sign collective agreements. However, state institutions argue that they are not granted the right to represent employers on the sectoral or branch level; some ministries expressed their disagreement to the establishment of such a body at all.

We can only regret at such a situation in the country, because it is quite probable that the social dialogue at central government level as well as in the whole public sector would definitely make a positive contribution to the development of the social dialogue all over the country.

Inga Blaziene, Institute of Labour and Social Research

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