Collective agreements boosted by social dialogue projects

In spring 2012, 20 projects to promote social dialogue were launched in Lithuania, financed by the European Social Fund. At the time, there was just one sectoral collective agreement in place. Since then, discussions have  taken place on 253 enterprise-level collective agreements, 32 territorial collective agreements and 16 sectoral collective agreements. The new agreements regulate a wide range of working conditions including pay, employment guarantees and health and safety.

European Social Fund projects gain momentum

In spring 2012, 20 contracts for projects financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) were signed in Lithuania.

Before the launch of the ESF-funded projects, only one sectoral collective agreement existed in Lithuania (LT0702029I) and no territorial collective agreements had been signed. Six months on from the start of the projects, some initial results have been seen and the process is gaining momentum.

The projects involve 12 employer organisations and eight employee organisations have led to negotiation of 253 enterprise-level collective agreements, 32 territorial collective agreements and 16 sectoral collective agreements. As the projects have not yet finished, no information is available for the total number of collective agreements likely to be signed at enterprise level. However, the number of signed sectoral and, in particular, territorial collective agreements is rapidly increasing.

Some of the agreements that have been signed are listed below.

  • In September 2012, a territorial collective agreement was signed by the Association of Western Lithuanian Trade Unions of Constructors and Designers (VLSPPSS) and the Western Lithuanian Construction and Design Group (VLSPĮG) (LT1211019I).
  • In May 2013, a territorial collective agreement was signed by the Kaunas Chamber Of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (KPPAR) and the Kaunas Regional Centre of the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK).
  • In July 2013, a territorial collective agreement was signed between the Šiauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (ŠPPAR) and ‘Solidarumas’, the trade union of Šiauliai county.
  • In July 2013, a territorial collective agreement was also signed between the Panevėžys Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (PPPAR) and the Panevėžys Trade Union Coordinating Council.
  • In October 2013, two territorial collective agreements were signed in the education sector, between regional trade unions and the municipality administrations of Rokiškis, Joniškis and Ukmergė districts. Negotiations over the signing of territorial collective agreements in the education sector are also in progress between municipality administrations and regional units of the Lithuanian Education Trade Union (LŠPS) in other regions (Kaunas city, Šiauliai city and others).

Content of agreements

The territorial agreements that have been signed apply to the signatory parties only. The social partners involved agree to regular monitoring to ensure compliance, and in many cases the collective agreements establish special bipartite (tripartite in the case of the education sector) councils to supervise implementation of provisions.

The agreements also set out the signatories’ commitment to build relationships based on partnership, and to solve all problems through dialogue. Many parties have also agreed to encourage the signing of collective agreements at enterprise level.

The new collective agreements regulate working conditions such as pay, employment guarantees and occupational health and safety, and introduce measures to support social partnership. Their provisions also detail their validity and lay down rules for amendment, modification and termination.

Most of the agreements signed have been registered at the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (SADM) in accordance with the procedures set out in the Labour Code.

Inga Blažienė, Institute of Labour of the Lithuanian Social Research Centre

 

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