Pioneering territorial collective agreement
In October 2012, the first territorial collective agreement signed in Lithuania was registered with the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The agreement was signed between the Association of Western Lithuanian Trade Unions of Constructors and Designers and the Western Lithuanian Construction and Design Group. Agreements of this type have been possible for some years in Lithuania, but funding has only recently been provided for their promotion through social dialogue.
Funding for territorial collective agreements
The Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania makes it possible for collective agreements to be concluded on a territorial basis, that is at municipality and county levels. Although this provision has been available to unions and employers for a decade, no agreements of this type have been made in Lithuania.
On 21 February 2012, 20 contracts covering the funding and administration of projects designed to promote social dialogue were signed by Lithuania’s Ministry of Social Security and Labour (SADM), the European Social Fund Agency (ESFA) and the leaders of employer and employee organisations (LT1202019I).
The aim was to develop the skills of employers and trade unions in the area of social partnering, improving collective labour relations and promoting the signing of collective agreements.
One of the initiatives to which ESFA funding was allocated was the promotion of dialogue between employers and employees in Western Lithuanian Construction and Design Group (VLSPĮG) companies. Funding of LTL 591,000 (€171,000 as of 28 November 2012) was made available and project outcomes included the signing of a pioneering territorial collective agreement.
According to the Labour Code:
A national, sectoral and territorial collective agreement shall be subject to registration upon application […]. The national, sectoral and territorial collective agreement shall, within 20 days from the signing thereof, be submitted for registration by the party – the employers’ organisation.
A national, sectoral and territorial collective agreement shall enter into force from the day of its registration and be valid until the date specified therein or until the conclusion of a new national, sectoral or territorial collective agreement.
National, sectoral and territorial collective agreements in Lithuania are registered by the SADM.
Wide-ranging scope of agreement
The territorial collective agreement, reached between VLSPĮG and the Association of Western Lithuanian Trade Unions of Constructors and Designers (VLSPPSS), was registered with the SADM on 4 October 2012. The agreement covers such issues as pay, support for social partnering, additional support for employment, and health and safety at work.
In addition, the agreement aims to improve employees’ working conditions. It takes into account the geographical location of Western Lithuania and its natural conditions – higher humidity and stronger winds – which lead to increased sickness rates. Rheumatic diseases are given as one example of this.
To comply with legal requirements in Lithuania, a territorial collective agreement must be binding on all members of the contracting employer organisation. Currently VLSPĮG has 12 group members employing up to 600 people.
This first deal is expected to be followed by more agreements of a similar nature across Lithuania.
Inga Blažiene, Institute of Labour and Social Research