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

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



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Country:
Hungary
Author:
Institution:

This contribution focuses on the inland water fisheries in Hungary. The fact that Hungary is a small, land-locked, country has led to the researchers collecting data only on freshwater fisheries. There are few employers and employees in the sector. Collective agreements are signed only at the few larger companies, where they are of long-standing tradition.

Sectoral properties

Economic background

It is difficult to define the fishing sector in Hungary. Fishing is in inland waters only and occurs mainly at Lake Balaton, the rivers Danube and Tisza and on some artificial lakes. Most of the fishing companies are based at the latter, where they farm fish.

There are two main companies, with some other, smaller ones. Protection of workers’ interests through unionisation occurs only at the two bigger companies. There are no employees’ representatives at the smaller companies.

The Nonprofit Balaton Fisheries (NBF) farms fish at Lake Balaton and in the surrounding small lakes. The Hortobágy Fish Farm Company primarily farms fish in the eastern part of the country, on an area protected by UNESCO. Both of these companies are state-owned, and have collective agreements. The NBF employs about 65–70 people, of whom 70% are unionised. There are 130 employees at the HH Rt., of which around 50% are unionised. The labour relationships are clear at both companies.

Development of employment

These data cover fishing and fish production NACE 3. There are no sea fishing or production data available

Table 1: Sectoral properties
 

1999

2009

Number of companies in the sector

43

48

Source of company data

Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Nemzetgazdaság munkaügyi adatai (2000–2003)

Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Nemzetgazdaság munkaügyi adatai

Aggregate employment

1,533

1,088

Male employment

0

0

Female employment

0

0

Share of sectoral employment in %

0

0

Source of employment figures

Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Nemzetgazdaság munkaügyi adatai (2000–2003-ig)

Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Nemzetgazdaság munkaügyi adatai

Comment

Data cover only fishing and fish production NACE 3. There are no sea fishing or production data available. Fresh-water fishers whre 1066

Aggregate employees

1,533

998

Male employees

0

0

Female employees

0

0

Share of sectoral employees in %

0

0

Comment

Data cover fishing and fish production NACE 3. There are no sea fishing or production data available

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)

The fishing sector in inland waters is organised by the Agricultural, Forestry and Water Management Workers’ Trade Union (MEDOSZ). As a confederation MEDOSZ has 8,500 active members, with a full membership of 12,000. There is no specific fishing committee within MEDOSZ.

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

MEDOSZ is affiliated directly to EFFAT and through MSZOSZ ETUC and ITUC.

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

National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives and Producers (MOSZ). The Hungarian Fish Farmers’ Association (HALTERMOSZ) represents MOSZ’s interest in the fishing sector in inland waters.

(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)

MOSZ is affiliated to GEOPA and COPA/COGECA.

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.).

Social dialogue in the fisheries sector is not significant, due to its size, compared with the whole agricultural sector. There is hardly any in the sector’s small enterprises, where there are neither any forms of works councils nor trade unions. At the two larger companies there is social dialogue on labour relations, and on collective agreements. A sectoral social dialogue committee operates in the agricultural sector.

2b Data on the trade unions

Table 2: Union Fact sheet: Agricultural, Forestry and Water Management Workers’ Trade Union (MEDOSZ)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

ITUC,

Affiliation to European-level organisations

ETUC, EFFAT

Affiliation to national-level organisations

MSZOSZ

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

 
Union's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

no

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

n.g.

  2,010
‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

8,500

   
Union members (incl. non-employed), total

12,000

   
 

2,010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

120

   
Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

150

   
Female membership as a % of total members

20%

Source of sectoral membership figures

Source

Union density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Sectoral density - active members

12%

   
Sectoral domain density - active members

Medium Low: 26%–50%

   
       
Union density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral density - total members

15%

   
Sectoral domain density - total members

medium low: 26%–50%

   
Description of union's domain with regard to sector

In the fisheries sector there are only 2-3 ‘bigger’ companies..At these companies the unionisation level is 50%–70 %. At the smaller companies there is no union membership.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

Mostly blue collar membership at medium-sized companies.

2c Data on the employer associations

Table 3: Employers’ organisation Fact sheet: National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives and Producers (MOSZ)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

n.g.

Affiliation to European-level organisations

GEOPA and COPA/COGECA

Affiliation to national-level organisations

MOSZ is a national confederation

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

no

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

n.g.

  2010
Number of member companies, total

820

-

850

Number of employees in member companies, total

110,000

-

120,000

  2010
Number of member companies in sector

40

   
Number of employees in member companies in sector

700

-

800

Source of membership figures

Author’s own calculation

Domain density - companies

4%

   
Sectoral density - companies

83%

   
Sectoral domain density - companies

25%

-

27%

Domain density - employees

69

-

86%

Sectoral density - employees

70%

-

80%

Sectoral domain density - employees

14%

-

20%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

There is an employer confederation in the agriculture sector: the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives and Producers (MOSZ). Sectoral member organisation in the fisheries of the MOSZ is the HALTERMOSZ.

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

Please describe.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

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

There is no other trade union.

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?

There is only one trade union in the sector.

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 is no other employer association.

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?

There is no rivalry as there is only one employer association.

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?

There are only two ‘large’ companies in the sector which have collective agreements. At the SMEs there is no practice of collective agreements.

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).

The collective bargaining coverage in the inland waters fisheries sector is relatively high. Several large public companies have also had valid collective agreements, of which now only two remain. Coverage of collective agreements has fallen from 70% to 30% in the last 10 years.

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.)

There are only single-employer agreements in the sector.

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

No.

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.

No data supplied

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.

Table 4: Four most important agreements in terms of employees covered*

Bargaining parties

Purview of the agreements

 

Sectoral

Type of employees

Territorial

Nonprofit Balaton Fisheries Ltd. Management and MEDOSZ  

All types at the company

All employees determined by Labour Code

Hortobágy Fish Farm Co. Ltd. Management and MEDOSZ  

All types at the company

All employees determined by Labour Code

*Note: There are only two registered collective agreements in the 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?

No data supplied.

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:

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development (FVM), there is a standing tripartite body, the Agriculture and Regional Development Interest Reconciliation Council, with participation from more than 20 social, professional and civic organisations. It also has different sub committees specialising in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, food, and sector-related public services.

According to the national agreement of September 2004, both employer organisations and unions have to provide a special committee with proofs/documents of their representativity. (HU0501105F) In February 2006, this special committee issued its statement about the agriculture sector. It recognised MOSZ and MEDOSZ as representative sectoral organisations and officially established the Agricultural Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee with these two bodies as founding members.

Table 5: Sector-specific public policies*

Name of the body and scope of activity

Bipartite/tripartite

Origin: agreement/statutory

Unions with representatives (reps)

Employer organisations with reps**

Agriculture and Regional Development Interest Reconciliation Council

Tripartite

None

MEDOSZ

Trade Union of Workers in Agrarian Research and Education (AOKDSZ)

Trade Union of Employees in Veterinary and Food Safety Services

Trade Union of Employees in Forestry and Wood Industry

Federation of Foodworkers’ Trade Unions (ÉDOSZ)

Trade Union of Hungarian Civil Servants and Public Service Employees (MKKSZ)

Trade Union of Employees in Science and Innovation (, TUDOSZ)

MOSZ

National Alliance of Leasers of Public Land (AMSZ)

The Federation of Hungarian Food Industries (EFOSZ)

Hungarian Federation of Forestry and Wood Industries (FAGOSZ) Agricultural and Rural Youth Association Hungary (AGRYA) Hungarian Fish Farmers’ Association (HALTERMOSZ) National Association of Gardeners

Federation of Private Forest Owners in Hungary (MEGOSZ)

Association of Land Owners in Hungary National Association of Hungarian Farmers’ Societies (, MAGOSZ) Association of Hungarian Producers’ Sales and Service Organisations and Cooperatives (HANGYASZOV) Association of Agricultural Enterprises National Federation of Water Management Associations (VTOSZ)

Agricultural Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees

Formally bipartite

National agreement

MEDOSZ

MOSZ

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

* 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.

A trade union is considered representative if it receives 10% of the votes cast at works council elections. However, this kind of representativity in itself does not authorise trade unions to sign collective agreements on behalf of the company’s employees.

If there were only one trade union at a company, and it received 50% of the votes cast at works council elections, this trade union would have the right to conclude the collective agreement.

If there were more than one trade union at the employer, then – as a basic rule – all trade unions jointly would have the right to conclude the collective agreement, provided that they received at least 50% of the votes at the works council election.

If the collective agreement cannot be concluded by all the trade unions, the representative trade unions would have the right to conclude it, provided that they received 50% of the votes at the works council election.

In some cases, not even the representative trade unions can conclude the collective agreement, either because they did not receive 50% support, or they failed to reach an agreement among themselves on what to negotiate for. If so, the trade union that received 65% of the votes has the right to conclude the collective agreement independently.

If this condition is not met, negotiations could continue with the participation of all the trade unions represented at the company and the text of an agreement could be worded. However, a collective agreement can be concluded only if the employees agree. Employees should vote on the proposed agreement – this voting is valid only if more than half of the employees take part in it and if the majority of the voters are in favour. In practice, it means that the collective agreement can be concluded with the support of one quarter of the employees.

In addition, a trade union is deemed representative if it organises two thirds of an occupational group (Section 29). However, rules are less strict concerning multi-employer agreements.

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.

The rules for sectoral and national representation for taking part in consultative bodies were established in a draft bill in February 2006 (HU0602101F). This bill was passed by the parliament on 11 December 2006 but later deferred by the President of Hungary, László Sólyom, to the Constitutional Court for a review of its constitutionality (HU0701039I). In 2008, the court ruled that the law was not in line with the country’s constitution; however, no further amended bill has yet been submitted. Therefore, sectoral representativeness rules are still based on a 2004 national agreement between the social partners, which laid down the criteria and established a special committee to decide which organisations should be deemed representative (HU0501105F). The complex criteria for participation in the sectoral social dialogue committees include: appropriate legal foundations of the organisations; the proportion of companies and employees covered by them; affiliation to national and international federations; previous experience in social dialogue and collective bargaining; and results of the latest works council elections (for trade unions only). The committee makes its decisions by using a complicated score system and, in the end, may award a different status for the applicants: namely, consultative, decision-making or representative decision-making status.

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.

Yes, see 6a.1 for details.

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.

According to the country’s Labour Code, an employer may conclude only one collective agreement with trade unions at a given company or institution.

No legal criteria exist for employer organisations to conclude sectoral collective agreements. Consequently, a form of voluntary collective bargaining takes place at industry (or industrial branch) level based on the parties’ mutual recognition. In practice, however, the by-laws of employer organisations are supposed to include the authorisation to do so on behalf of the members, or a procedure for ratification (or possible opt-outs) concerning the agreement negotiated by the organisation.

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.

For the extension procedure, representativeness rules, similar to those for trade unions (see 6b.1), are set by law. According to these criteria, employer organisations that are considered especially representative are those showing the most significance in terms their membership number, economic importance and the number of employees covered.

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.

No data supplied

7. Commentary

There are few active employers and employees in the fisheries sector in Hungary and they are mostly fishing in inland waters, so it is difficult to talk about advocacy work. The involvement of micro and small companies into the social dialogue could be improved. The union aims to organise members of the smaller companies as well.

Máté Illés, Solution4.org, Hungary

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