Croatia: Collective bargaining coverage should return to pre-crisis levels soon

The level of collective bargaining coverage could soon return to pre-crisis levels in Croatia, according to a new report.

A new report shows that there have been no significant changes to collective bargaining in Croatia in the last five years, although the overall level of coverage has slightly declined (Bagić, 2015).

The reduced coverage, from about 61% to about 53%, is primarily the result of cancelling the extended collective agreement for trade, and the reduction in the number of employees in civil construction and in the hotel and catering industry (where extended collective agreements are also applied). However, bargaining is underway for a new collective agreement for the trade sector, and if it is extended to all employees in the sector by ministerial decree, the level of coverage can soon be expected to return to pre-crisis levels.

The report data show that the level of coverage by collective agreements in Croatia is slightly lower than average in Member States overall, but is still higher than the level of coverage in most of the former accession countries. The analysis has shown that there is no uniform system of collective bargaining in Croatia: there is a huge variation within sectors and between types of ownership and size and age of businesses. The analysis suggests that there is also an informal system of harmonising the content and level of individual rights among these different patterns. This is evident from the fact that rights to certain types of base wage supplements and other material rights are consistent in all bargaining patterns, while the levels of most rights have been regulated in a similar way.

In general, the study results suggest that the system of collective bargaining in Croatia does not foster a single and coordinated wage policy which could accommodate changes in the macroeconomic environment, or react to microeconomic indicators.

Bagić, D., 2015. Analysis of the impact of collective agreements on the wage system in the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb, Ministry of Labour and Pension System. 

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