Lithuania: Latest working life developments – Q1 2017
Controversial provisions in the Labour Code; four new members for Lithuania’s Tripartite Council; and initiatives by the main employer organisation, the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists, are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Lithuania in the first quarter of 2017.
New members of the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania
Members of the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania (LRTT) began discussions on new criteria for the Council's membership, after 10 employer and trade union organisations asked to join it.
The members quickly agreed on the criteria, deciding to add them to the 21 February 2008 Agreement on Recognition of Mutual Social Partnership, made between peak employer organisations and trade unions. These criteria include:
- membership of an international organisation
- having regional members or representatives
- being active for at least three years
- (for unions) covering at least 0.5% of the country’s employees
- (for employer organisations) having at least 3% of salaried employees of the country employed in their companies.
The LRTT, after deliberating for almost two months, invited two new employer organisations and two trade union organisations to join. The employer organisations are the Investor’s Forum and the Lithuanian Business Confederation. The trade union organisations are the National Joint Trade Union and Lithuanian Trade Union ‘Sandrauga’.
These trade unions will share one place on the Council; the national social partners decided unanimously on this because the two unions are not members of any international trade union organisations.
Controversial provisions of the new Labour Code
On 15 March, at the last sitting of the LRTT dealing with the controversial provisions of the new Labour Code, the social partners signed an Agreement on Negotiated Issues, for which solutions had been found at previous sittings. The social partners agreed on the following:
- regulation of holiday leave
- entitlement to unemployment benefits
- maximum working hours and working time recording
- distribution of functions of works councils and trade unions
- information and counselling
- criteria for selecting members to the LRTT.
Issues they were unable to agree on included these topics:
- organisation of strikes or lockouts
- additional guarantees for representatives of employees
- fixed-term employment contracts
- work schedules
- entering into collective agreements
- conflicts of interest.
As most of the substantive contentious issues have been agreed, a draft of amendments to the Labour Code, already adopted but not yet in force, should be submitted to the Lithuanian parliament for consideration by 1 July 2017, when the new code is expected to come into force.
Initiatives of the main employer organisation
At the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the president of the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists (LPK) met some of the Lithuanian government’s new ministers to propose improvements to an action plan implementing the government’s programme and the ministries’ annual plans. Proposals were prepared for the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
In January, LPK organised training on employees’ financial participation in Panevėžys (the fifth-largest city in Lithuania) and presented proposals on developing volunteering and non-formal education in Lithuania. This is within the framework of a project, implemented by LPK and the Association of Non-Formal Education in Lithuania and other partners, aimed at better recognition of non-formally acquired skills using the Open Badges technical specification.
LPK has also called for better-targeted development of vocational training through apprenticeship training schemes. In a press release on 11 January it said that, to date, a systematic approach towards vocational education and training has been lacking in Lithuania.