Industrial relations and social dialogue

Lithuania: Latest developments in working life Q4 2019

The signing of a sectoral collective agreement in the education sector and the decision to establish the Bipartite Social Partner Commission for Competence Building are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Lithuania in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Collective agreement in education sector signed

Negotiations continued between the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MESS) and the education-sector trade unions (Lithuanian Education and Science Trade Union (LŠMPS), Lithuanian Association of Higher Education Institutions Trade Unions (LAMPSS), Education and Science Trade Union Solidarumas (ŠMPS Solidarumas) and Lithuanian Trade Union Sandrauga (LPS Sandrauga)) on the renewal of the collective agreement for education that was signed two years ago. In line with previous discussions, the renewed agreement aimed to provide for a significant increase in wages and salaries, as well for improvements to working conditions (such as qualification improvements, teleworking, sabbaticals) for teachers, researchers and lecturers.

As no agreement was reached, the education sector held a warning strike on 28 November. According to LŠMPS, about 400 educational institutions and 6,000 teachers participated in the strike. The day after the warning strike (29 November), the leaders of the trade unions that were signatories to the collective agreement in 2017 convened a conciliation panel for the collective labour dispute.

In early December, the parties managed to come to an agreement and signed the updated (revised) version of the 2017 collective agreement in the government building. The agreement provides for a 10% annual increase in salaries for teachers, lecturers and researchers, while particular attention is given to educational assistance professionals working with children with special needs, as well as to pre-school and pre-primary teachers.

Bipartite Social Partner Commission established

At the end of December, social partners assessed the situation in their competence development and agreed to set up a Bipartite Social Partner Commission for Competence Building at the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania (TCRL). The commission aims to identify the competencies needed by social partners in order to participate more effectively in the various forms of social dialogue. It was agreed that the commission would be bipartite, consisting of 12 trade union representatives and 12 employer organisation representatives.

Social partners have agreed on the composition of the commission and approved its statutes, which provide that the commission shall:

  • consider proposals from the parties and make recommendations to the TCRL for capacity building and empowerment of the social partners
  • analyse and evaluate the performance of the parties in the area of social partner competence building and report its findings to the TCRL

The commission will have the right to make proposals and recommendations to the Lithuanian government, ministries, trade unions, employer organisations and other bodies for amendments and additions to legislation, as well as carry out research in this area. The commission is also entitled to obtain information necessary for its work from institutions, organisations and other bodies, as well as to invite professionals, experts and others from various fields to attend the meetings of the commission.

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