Employer organisations form new alliance
After seven of the 11 nationally representative employer organisations established the Alliance of Employer Confederations in Romania in May 2006, another three employer organisations agreed to set up the Union of Employer Confederations in Romania in March 2007. According to its leaders, the new organisation takes part in the signing of 15 of the 21 sectoral collective agreements and accounts for over 70% of the national economy.
Steps towards unification of organisations
At present in Romania, 11 employer organisations have acquired national representation status. In May 2006, seven of these confederations signed a protocol of concerted action and became associative members of the Alliance of Employer Confederations in Romania (Alianţa Confederaţiilor Patronale din România, ACPR). The seven members comprised the:
- Romanian Association of Building Entrepreneurs (Asociaţia Româna a Antreprenorilor din Construcţii, ARACO);
- National Council of Private Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Romania (Consiliul Naţional al Întreprinderilor Private Mici si Mijlocii din România, CNIPMMR);
- National Confederation of Romanian Employers (Confederaţia Naţională a Patronatului Român, CNPR);
- National Council of Romanian Employers (Consiliul Naţional al Patronilor din România, CoNPR);
- Confederation of Employers in Industry, Services and Trade (Confederaţia Patronală a Industriei, Serviciilor şi Comerţului, CPISC);
- Romanian National Employers (Patronatul Naţional Român, PNR);
- General Union of Romanian Industrialists (Uniunea Generală a Industriaşilor din România, UGIR) (RO0609039I).
Initially, representatives of an eighth employer organisation took part in the negotiations, namely Romanian Employers (Patronatul Român, PR). However, in the end, PR failed to sign the merger protocol.
In January 2007, another two representative employer organisations – the General Union of Romanian Industrialists 1903 (Uniunea Generală a Industriaşilor din România 1903, UGIR 1903) and the Employer Confederation of Romanian Industry (Confederaţia Patronală din Industria României, CONPIROM) – signed an agreement of cooperation in relation to social dialogue and the joint promotion of common interests.
According to the statement made by the President of UGIR 1903, Ioan Cezar Corâci, the two confederations were signatories of 14 of the 17 sectoral collective agreements signed so far.
Second union of organisations set up
In March 2007, the establishment of the Union of Employer Confederations in Romania (Uniunea Confederaţiilor Patronale din România, UCPR) was announced. The union comprised three nationally representative employer organisations, namely UGIR 1903, CONPIROM and PR, as well as the National Union of Employers with Private Capital in Romania (Uniunea Naţională a Patronilor cu Capital Privat din România, UNPCPR) and the Concordia Employers’ Confederation (Confederaţia Patronală Concordia, CPC); CPC was not formalised as a legal entity at the time.
The new organisation declared that it was the signatory of 15 of the 21 sectoral collective agreements in force and accounted for over 70% of the national economy.
At the same time, the press release noted the absence of employer representation on the Executive Board of the Economic and Social Council (Consiliul Economic şi Social, CES), as UGIR 1903 had previously been denied participation in CES meetings. The representatives of the newly-established union of employer organisations declared that, after the resignation of the CES president, the council’s Executive Board took over the plenum and made the necessary decisions in stead; therefore, these decisions lack legitimacy. The UCPR members could not express their opinions since they were not members of the CES Executive Board.
ACPR also expressed its concern over the delay in setting up the CES, which has a negative impact on the legislation designed to establish the criteria of true representativeness in the case of employer organisations. To this end, UCPR invites ACPR representatives to take part in negotiations which aim to achieve a fair representation of employer organisation in the CES and other European structures.
Currently, of the 11 nationally representative employer confederations, seven are members of ACPR, three are represented by UCPR, with only the National Union of Romanian Employers (Uniunea Naţională a Patronatului Român, UNPR) remaining by itself.
The disputes between the two groups of employer organisations also contributed to the blocking of CES activities. No CES meetings were held for nine months up until 28 March 2007. Representativeness seems to be at the root of the disputes: UCPR states that it takes part in the bargaining process and signs 15 sectoral and six collective agreements for groups of companies, while ACPR signs only two sectoral and no collective agreements for company groups. Nonetheless, ACPR has 12 representatives in the CES plenum while UCPR, like UNPR, has only two representatives.
There are currently 21 sectoral collective agreements in force; in another 11 sectors, collective agreements are still not being negotiated or signed.
Luminiţa Chivu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy