Representativeness of trade unions and employer associations in the sea fisheries sector - Estonia

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Employee representation,
  • Social partners,
  • Published on: 06 Marzec 2012



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Estonia
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The fishing and aquaculture sector is very small in Estonia and specific data on marine fishing is not collected. Thus, the available data includes the entire fishing and aquaculture sector rather than marine fishing in particular. Employment in the sector has been declining since the 1980s, comprising 0.2% of the total employment in 2010. The number of sectoral enterprises has also declined, from 121 in 2005 to 86 in 2009. There are no trade unions or employer associations established in the marine fishing sector in terms of industrial relations.

Sectoral properties

Economic background

The fishing and aquaculture sector is quite small in Estonia. Since the marine fishing sector (NACE 3.11) forms only a minor part of the sector, reliable data on such a small sector is not published and thus the available data includes the whole fishing and aquaculture sector (NACE 3). Employment has dropped from 23,000 people in 1989 to 1,000 in 2010. The share of sectoral employment as a percentage of total employment in the economy has declined from 2.7% in 1989 to just 0.2% in 2008. Since then, the share in total employment has remained stable. The same general trend applies for the number of employees in the sector. The most recent available comparable data on sectoral employment and employees is from 2007, as presented in Table 1 below. After 2007 number of employees is not available as thenumber of cases is too small to publish as reliable data).

The sector is male-dominated, with men comprising 76% of the sector’s workers in 2007, and 90% of the sector’s workers in 2010. The number of female workers is not published due to unreliable data.

The number of companies in the sector has also decreased from 121 in 2005 to 86 in 2009. Since the decline in employment figures and company figures has been steady, and since the decline also continued in time of economic growth it is difficult to estimate what influence the recession had on the fishing and aquaculture sector and whether some of these changes are related specifically to the recession or to long-term structural change which had begun before the crisis.

Development of employment

Table 1: Sectoral properties
 

2005

2007

Number of companies in the sector

121

86

Source of company data

Statistics Estonia

Statistics Estonia

Aggregate employment

2 700

2 100

Male employment

2 500

1 600

Female employment

-

-

Share of sectoral employment in %

0.4%

0.3%

Source of employment figures

Statistics Estonia, Labour Force Survey (LFS)

Statistics Estonia, Labour Force Survey (LFS)

Comment

The aggregate employment has decreased constantly from 2.7% in 1989 to 0.3 in 2007 and 0.2% in 2010. Together with that the number of companies in the sector has declined from 121 in 2005 to 97 in 2007 and 86 in 2009.

Aggregate employees

1 100

1 300

Male employees

-

-

Female employees

-

-

Share of sectoral employees in %

0.2

0.2

Comment

The number of aggregate employees has dropped from 2000 in 1999 to 1300 in 2007 and the share of sectoral employees has decreased continuously from 1989 (2.8%) to 1% in 1997. In 2007 it made only 0.2% of total number of employees.

* The data in the table is for the years 2005 and 2007 if not stated otherwise since it is the last available comparable data on aggregate employment and employees

** There is no data available that would include only NACE 3.11 (marine fishing). Only data for the whole fishing and aquaculture sector is available

***Data on the number of companies is for the years 2005 and 2009 (most recent data)

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

(i) trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining (In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the background information included in the accompanying excel spreadsheet, we understand sector-related collective bargaining as any kind of collective bargaining within the sector, i.e. single-employer bargaining as well as multi-employer bargaining. For the definition of single- and multi-employer bargaining, see 4.2)

(ii) trade unions which are a sector-related member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. ETF – European Transport Workers’ Federation)

(iii) employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

(iv) employer associations (business associations) which are a sector-related member of the sector-related European Employer/Business Federations (i.e. EUROPECHE and COGECA – General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union)

2a Overview of the industrial relations landscape in the sector

Please include a brief overview of the IR landscape in the sector (3-5 sentences) – summarising the most important features of industrial relations structures in the sector (based on the fact sheets – but without going into detail.)

Please also report here, whether the crisis had an impact on the sector’s relevant social partner organisations (e.g. mergers, emergence of new interest organisations, impact on membership structure, important social partner activities/achievements in the sector during the crisis etc.).

There are no trade unions active in the sector or listed as ETF members in Estonia.

There are many employer associations that are active in the fishing and aquaculture sector in general. For example, the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce (EPKK) is an umbrella organisation for agricultural producers and processors in private law. EPKK has 100 members from different sectors and is listed as a member of COGECA. The Estonian Fish Breeders Association (EKL) represents fish and lobster breeders and currently has 48 members. The Estonian Association of Fishery (Kalaliit) represents fish breeders, fishers and fish processors and currently has 28 members. Also,there some small employer organisations active in the marine fishing sector, such as the Estonian Long Distance Fishing Association (Eesti Kaugpüüdjate Liit) which currently has four members and the Estonian Fishermen's Association (Eesti Kalurite Liit) which represents 500 fishermen. However, none of them take part in collective bargaining and have not concluded any collective agreements. These small organisations are therefore not involved in industrial relations, and are not included in the current report in more detail. However, they do take part in sector-specific policy formulation and the implementation process.

2b Data on the trade unions

There are no trade unions active in this sector (see above).

2c Data on the employer associations

There are no employer associations active in marine fishing.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

3a.1 Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

There are no trade unions in this sector (see above).

3a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Not applicable

3a.3 If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

Not applicable

3b Inter-employer association relationships

3b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

There are two employer associations, the Estonian Fish Breeders’ Association (EKL) and the Estonian Association of Fishery (Kalaliit) whose domains overlap. Both EKL and Kalaliit represent fish breeders and even have one common member. However, overall, their domains differ somewhat. EKL, which has 48 members, represents fish and lobster breeders and their objective is to support the development of aquaculture in Estonia. Kalaliit has 28 members and represents fishers, fish processors and fish breeders and aims to develop the domestic fish processing industry and to promote the competitiveness of fish production on the domestic and foreign markets. The EPKK is a umbrella organisation for agricultural producers and processors in private law and both EKL and Kalaliit are members of EPKK.

3b.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the employer associations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

None of the employer associations is involved in collective bargaining (see above). All employer organisations, EPKK, EKL, and Kalaliit as well as other named employer associations participate in public policy formulation and implementation.

3b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

Not applicable

3b.4 Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

Not applicable

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

It is impossible to estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage since there are no multi-employer collective agreements concluded in the sector and the information on possible enterprise level collective agreements is unavailable. There are no sector-related collective agreements registered by the Ministry of Social Affairs at the collective agreements register. However, not all collective agreements are reported there.

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (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, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

See 4.1 above

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

Not applicable

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

Not applicable

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

There are no multi-employer wage agreements concluded in the marine fishing (NACE 3.11) sector.

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

There is no information available on the collective agreements concluded in the marine fishing (NACE 3.11) sector.

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

Yes, all of the employer associations are consulted in sector-specific matters. All of the named employer associations are consulted by the Ministry of Agriculture ( Põllumajandusministeerium) in sector specific matters. Also, EPKK representatives are included in many councils and workgroups that involve different agricultural sectors and therefore EPKK also represents the interests of EKL and Kalaliit. Also, both EPKK and Kalaliit are members of the Estonian Qualifications Authority (Kutsekoda) which is a tripartite organisation whose main objective is the development of an integrated and organised professional qualifications system. The Estonian Long Distance Fishing Association also has a cooperation agreement with the Estonian Maritime Academy (Mereakadeemia).

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

Table 2: Sector-specific public policies*
Name of the body and scope of activity Bipartite/tripartite Origin: agreement/statutory Trade unions having representatives (reps) Employer associations having reps.
Estonian Qualifications Authority (Kutsekoda), Food Industry and Agriculture Professional Council

tripartite

statutory

Estonian Fishers’ Association (Eesti Kalapüüdjate Ühing) (not a trade union, but employee representative)

Estonian Association of Fishery (Kalaliit) and Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce (EPKK)

         

* Sector-specific policies specifically target and affect the sector under consideration.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade unions

6a.1 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

Legislation defines no restrictions on concluding collective agreements in terms of representativeness of the unions. Provided that the trade union is legally formed and registered, it may represent the employees and conclude collective agreements. A trade union may be founded by at least five employees and a federation of trade unions may be founded by at least five trade unions. In case there is no trade union established, a collective agreement may also be concluded by an authorised representative of the employees (i.e. Employee Trustees). These regulations are valid on national level and are not sector-specific.

6a.2 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

There are no statutory regulations concerning any criteria which a union must meet to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy or to participate in tripartite bodies.

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

Election for a representational body is not a criterion for trade union representativeness.

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

There are no criteria in terms of representativeness.

6b.2 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

There are no criteria established entitling organisations to be consulted in matters of public policy or to participate in tripartite bodies.

6b.3 Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

Elections for a representational body are not criteria for the representativeness of employer associations.

7.Commentary

The sector of fishing and aquaculture is very small in Estonia, thus specific data on marine fishing is not collected. Also, there are no trade unions and employer associations active in terms of industrial relations in this specific sector. Thus, no employer or trade union organisations are covered by this report.

Liina Osila, Kirsti Nurmela, PRAXIS, Center for Policy Studies

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