Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Manufacture of sugar – Poland

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 10 July 2008



About
Country:
Poland
Author:
Piotr Sula
Institution:

The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the sugar manufacturing sector in Poland. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

Introduction

The sugar production market in Poland has undergone radical transformation in the last few years and is on the decline. The most serious changes were triggered by regulations emanating from the European Commission, which have resulted in a decline in sugar production and the inevitable reduction of employment in the sector. Nevertheless, it appears that the sugar production sector has managed to deal with the main social anxieties.

1. Sectoral properties

  1994 2005**
Number of companies . 5
Aggregate employment* 24,164 10,943***
Male employment* 18,823 8,657
Female employment* 5,341 2,286
Aggregate employees Not available 10,939
Male employees Not available 8,655
Female employees Not available 2,284
Aggregate sectoral employment as a % of total employment in the economy Not available Approx. 0.076%****
Aggregate sectoral employees as a % of the total number of employees in the economy Not available Approx. 0.085%****

* employees plus self-employed persons and agency workers

** or most recent data

*** Information obtained from Central Statistical Office for Poland ( Główny Urząd Statystyczny, GUS)

**** Own calculations based on Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2006’

2. The sector’s unions and employer associations

This section includes the following unions and employer associations:

1. Unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining.

  • Company Committee NSZZ 'Solidarność' of the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company (Komisja Zakładowa NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ Krajowej Spółki Cukrowej ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.)
  • Trade Unions Federation of Employees of Sugar Industry, the joint stock company (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Krajowej Spółki Cukrowej ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.), united in the Federation of the Trade Unions of the Sugar Production Sector Workers (Federacja Związków Zawodowych Pracowników Przemysłu Cukrowniczego, FZZPPC), which is part of the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Związków Zawodowych, OPZZ)
  • Free Trade Union of Workers ‘Together’ (Wolny Pracowniczy Związek Zawodowy ‘Razem’)
  • Trade Union of the Transport Workers of the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Transportu Krajowej Spółki Cukrowej ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.)
  • Trade Union of Technical and Administration Workers of the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company in Toruń – the section of ‘Sugar Factory in Tuczno’ (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Technicznych i Administracji)

2. Unions which are a member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. EFFAT – European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions)

  • The Food Workers' Secretariat of NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ (Sekretariat Przemysłu Spożywczego NSZZ ‘Solidarność’) with the National Section of the Sugar Production Sector NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ as its part, is a member of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions ( EFFAT).

3. Employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

  • There are no employer associations in the sector.

4. Employer associations which are a member of the sector-related European Employer Federation (i.e. CEFS – European Committee of Sugar Manufacturers)

  • Association of Sugar Producers in Poland ( Związek Producentów Cukru, ZPC)

2a Data on the unions

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Membership is voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private-sector workers, food production employees, etc.)

The trade unions embrace representatives of all workers’ groups, including those with managerial functions. Only members of company management boards are outside the trade unions structures.

2a.3 Number of union members (i.e. the total number of members of the union as a whole)

No data available.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

5,400 members in the sugar sector.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

No data available.

2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)

About 80% (according to information from trade union officials and assuming that current employment in the sugar production sector is 6,500).

2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector

83%. The number of employees in the stock company 'Polish Sugar' is about 2,500.

WZZ Sierpień '80 organises both blue- and white-collar workers in all sectors. No data available from 'Razem'.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes.

2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations)

Membership of particular union organisations is as follows:

  • Company Section of the NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ of the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company (Komisja Zakładowa NSZZ ‘Solidarność’), united in the National Section of the Sugar Production Sector NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ (Sekcja Krajowa Przemysłu Cukrowniczego NSZZ ‘Solidarność’) – 2,000 members.
  • Trade Unions Federation of Employees of Sugar Industry, the joint stock company (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Krajowej Spółki Cukrowej ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.), united in the FZZPPC, which is the part of the OPZZ – 3,200 members.
  • Free Trade Union of Workers ‘Together’ (Wolny Pracowniczy Związek Zawodowy ‘Razem’) – dozens of members.
  • Free Trade Union of Workers ‘August 80’ (Wolny Związek Zawodowy ‘Sierpień 80’, WZZ Sierpień '80), unaffiliated (company) union – 60 members.
  • Trade Union of the Transport Workers of the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Transportu Krajowej Spółki Cukrowej ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.) – dozens of members.
  • Trade Union of Technical and Administration Workers of the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company in Toruń – the section of ‘Sugar Factory in Tuczno’ (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Technicznych i Administracji), unaffiliated (company) union – dozens of members.
  • Federacja Związków Zawodowych Pracowników Przemysłu Spożywczego is a part of the OPZZ, as well as the Federacja Związków Zawodowych Pracowników Przemysłu Cukrowniczego. However, only the latter is an actor in the manufacture of sugar (NACE 15.83).

2b Data on the employer associations

2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Membership of employer associations is voluntary.

2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, food-production industry, etc.)

The Polish sugar production sector is dominated by 5 producers:

  • National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company (Krajowa Spółka Cukrowa ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.)
  • BSO Group (Grupa BSO)
  • Nordzucker Poland, the joint stock company (Nordzucker Polska S.A.)
  • Pfeifer & Langen Poland, the joint stock company (Pfeifer & Langen Polska S.A.)
  • Südzucker Poland, the limited liability company (Südzucker Polska Sp. z o. o.)

The major producer is the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’ (Krajowa Spółka Cukrowa ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.), incorporating over 20 manufacturers. The smallest number of factories is within the BSO Group and Nordzucker Poland.

2b.3 Number of member companies (i.e. the total number of members of the association as a whole)

5 member companies.

2b.4 Number of member companies in the sector

5 member companies.

2b.5 Number of employees working in member companies (i.e. the total number of the association as a whole)

6,500 employees.

2b.6 Number of employees working in member companies in the sector

6,500 employees.

2b.7 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

100%

2b.8 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to the sector

100%

2b.9 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)

100%

2b.10 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to the sector

100%

2b.11 Does the employer association conclude collective agreements?

No.

2b.12 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).

  • Association of Sugar Producers in Poland ( Związek Producentów Cukru, ZPC) belongs to the European Committee of Sugar Manufacturers, CEFS

3. Inter-associational relationships

3.1. Please list all unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

  • National Section of Sugar Production Sector of NSZZ 'Solidarność' (Sekcja Krajowa Przemysłu Cukrowniczego NSZZ 'Solidarność', SKPC NSZZ 'Solidarność')
  • Trade Unions Federation of Employees of Sugar Industry, the joint stock company (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Krajowej Spółki Cukrowej ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A.), united in the FZZPPC, which is part of OPZZ
  • Free Trade Union of Workers ‘Together’ (Wolny Pracowniczy Związek Zawodowy ‘Razem’)
  • Free Trade Union of Workers ‘August 80’ (Wolny Związek Zawodowy ‘Sierpień 80’, WZZ Sierpień '80)

3.2. Do rivalries and competition exist among the unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

There are no evident signs of rivalry, confirmed by activists representing all the organisations. By law, only two of the unions active in the sugar production sector are representative – the independent and self-governing Trade Union ‘Solidarność’ (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy ‘Soldiarność’, NSZZ ‘Solidarność’) and the OPZZ (represented by SKPC NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ and FZZPPC). Although the other unions have smaller memberships, they were invited, on the initiative of SKPC NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ and FZZPPC, to the negotiations concerning the Factory Collective Agreement in the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’.

3.3. If yes, are certain unions excluded from these rights?

Not relevant.

3.4. Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

The only employer association in the sugar production sector is the Association of Sugar Producers in Poland ( Związek Producentów Cukru, ZPC). Despite ZPC’s statutes citing conducts ‘in the name of creating and maintaining the social peace in working relationships’ and specifying the fulfilment of statutory aims by ‘negotiations of collective, sectoral and factory contracts’, actions of this type are not undertaken in practice.

3.5. 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?

No, but see Section 3.4.

3.6. If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

See Section 3.4.

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 only collective agreement signed in the sugar production sector has been at company level. It became operative in the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company, on 1 February 2007. This contract encompassed all workers employed in this company (approximately 2,700), which means that 41% of those employed in the sugar production sector are covered by the collective agreement.

See also Section 2a.6 (number of employees in 2007, according to union data, was 6,500).

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.)

Only one collective agreement signed in the sugar production sector (see Section 4.1).

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 relevant.

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2005 (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

Not relevant.

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

The Ministry of the Treasury (Ministerstwo Skarbu Państwa ) – which controls the majority of shares in the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, the joint stock company – arranged consultations with trade union representatives on each occasion that closure of sugar factories was planned. Since signing the collective agreement, such matters are discussed by company management and trade union representatives.

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:

On the basis of Regulation No. 16 of 4 July 2006, released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi, MRiRW), the Sugar and Isoglucose Team was established. It plays a supportive role for the Minister of Agriculture. Assistance for the Team, in turn, is provided by the consultancy group, which is responsible for:

  • expressing viewpoints and proposing certain solutions related to the current situation within the scope of the Team's responsibilities;
  • preparing opinions pertaining to projects of Polish normative Acts or European regulations;
  • preparing proposals concerning projects of the Minister’s attitudes, which will be presented to EU bodies (following the motion of the Chairman of the Team);
  • preparing motions following the analysis of reports on the EU organs’ meetings, which reports are prepared by people representing the Minister’s standpoint;
  • expressing the standpoint in other cases (following the Chairman’s motion)

The fifth, and final, meeting of the Team took place on 11 June 2007. It concerned the changes proposed by the European Commission in its Regulation WE No. 318/2006 (about sugar market policy) and in Regulation WE No. 320/2006 (establishing the temporary system of the sugar industry restructuring in the EU).

The issue of the sugar industry was not dealt with by the Tripartite Commission for Social and Industrial Issues. It was tackled by regional social dialogue commissions in two cases:

  • On 16 April 2004, the Presidium of the Regional Commission of Social Dialogue discussed the problem of the sugar factory ‘Żnin’, part of Krajowa Spółka Cukrowa ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A. (KSC), the joint stock company, whose workers had initiated strike action in connection with management’s plans to close the factory. Eventually, the sugar factory in Żnin was closed.
  • On 17 June 2004, the Provincial Commission of Social Dialogue in Lublin organised a meeting devoted to the issue of the sugar factory ‘Wożuczyn’. Members of the union NSZZ ‘Solidarność’ had concerns stemming from the announcement by KSC's management of the factory's planned liquidation. The sugar factory ‘Wożuczyn’ has not been liquidated to date.
Sector-specific public policies*
Name of the body and scope of activity Bipartite/ Tripartite Origin: Agreement/ Statutory Unions having representatives Employer associations having representatives
The consultancy group supporting the Sugar and Isoglucose Team by the MRiRW. The consultancy group comprises representatives of trade unions, social and organised labour organisations, and other organisations functioning within the area of agriculture, rural development and agricultural markets. Bill No. 16, issued on 4 July 2004 by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, established Teams to monitor the situation in the area of agriculture, the development of rural areas and agricultural markets, as well as to cooperate with the EU organs. The list of members of the consultancy group is proposed to the Minister by the Director of the EU and International Cooperation Department, with reference to the concerned departments and organisations. Thus, there are no explicitly settled criteria for taking part in the works of the group. The employer association ZPC has participated in the works conducted so far. The list of members of the consultancy group is proposed to the Minister by the Director of the EU and International Cooperation Department, with reference to the concerned departments and organisations. Thus, there are no explicitly settled criteria for taking part in the works of the group. Representatives of the trade unions NSZZ ‘Solidarność and OPZZ have participated in the works conducted so far.

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

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6.1. In the case of the 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.

The sectoral trade unions must abide by the Labour Code Regulations. The Labour Code specifies the criteria to be met in order to be a party in a collective agreement: it has to be an employer and a trade union organisation uniting employees for whom the agreement is being concluded. In the case of a multi-employer agreement which has not been concluded in the sector of sugar manufacture, the Labour Code clearly specifies the parties:

  • for employees – the trade union organisation must be a national trade union, an association (federation) of trade unions or a national inter-union (confederation);
  • for employers – the statutory body of the employer organisation.

Polish labour law differentiates two levels of collective agreements:

The first level of collective agreement (Labour Code Article 241(14)) is the industry-level collective agreement, which is concluded by the adequate body of organisation gathering unions from more than one company. An additional necessary condition is that the mentioned union should meet criteria of representativeness (Labour Code Article 241(17)), as follows:

  1. representativeness according to the rules mentioned in the Act on Tripartite Commission on Socio-Economic Affairs and voivodship (district) commissions of social dialogues; or
  2. industry union organisation gathering unions from a few companies; such an organisation has to gather at least 10% of the total number of workers covered by the activity’s range included in the statute (not less than 10,000 workers); or
  3. such organisation that gathers the greatest number of workers for which such kind of collective bargaining agreement shall be concluded.

The second level of collective agreement (Labour Code Article 241(23)) is the company-level collective agreement, which is concluded by a particular company and a union within this company. The mentioned union also has to meet the criteria of representativeness at company level (Labour Code Article 241(25a)), as follows:

  1. union organisation, which is an organisational unit or a member of industry union organisation, regarded as representative on the basis on Article 241(17) of the Labour Code under condition but only if it gathers at least 7% of workers employed by one employer; or
  2. union organisation if it gathers at least 10% of workers employed by one employer.

See Section 6.1 in PL0707019Q

6.2. In the case of the 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.

Statutory regulations are stated in the Act of 6 July 2001 on the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic Affairs and on the voivodship (district) commissions for social dialogue. However, there is no Act on participating in informal sectoral consultations, which is not regulated by any law.

Nationwide trade unions, nationwide federations of trade unions and nationwide organisations are regarded as representative inter-union organisations (confederations) if they fulfil all of the following criteria:

  • they gather more than 300,000 members who are recognised as workers;
  • they operate in national economic entities (the basic kinds of activity are described in the Polish Classification of Business Activity/PKD), mentioned in rules on public statistics;
  • while determining number criterion (mentioned above), not more than 100,000 members of a union organisation who are workers of the national economic entities (the basic kinds of activity are described in the Polish Classification of Business Activity/PKD), mentioned in rules on public statistics, are taken into consideration.

See Section 6.2 in PL0707019Q

6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No regulations.

6.4. In the case of the employer associations, 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.

According to the Labour Code (Article 241(14)), a collective bargaining agreement at industry level is concluded on the employees' side through the adequate body of organisation gathering unions from more than one company (see Section 6.1).

A collective bargaining agreement at company level (Labour Code Article 241(23)) is concluded by the employer and company’s union organisation.

See Section 6.1 in PL0707019Q

6.5. In the case of the employer associations, 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.

Statutory regulations are stated in the Act of 6 July 2001 on the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic Affairs and on the voivodship (district) commissions for social dialogue (see also Section 6.2).

The side of employers in the Commission is represented by the representatives of the representative employer organisations. Employer organisations are regarded as representative if they fulfil all of the following criteria:

  • they gather employers who employ more than 300,000 employees;
  • they are recognised as a nationwide organisation;
  • they operate in national economic entities (the basic kinds of activity are described in the Polish Classification of Business Activity/PKD), mentioned in rules on public statistics;
  • while determining number criterion, not more than 100,000 members of a union organisation who are workers of the national economic entities (the basic kinds of activity are described in the Polish Classification of Business Activity/PKD), mentioned in rules on public statistics, are taken into consideration.

See 6.2 in PL0707019Q

6.6. 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 regulations.

7. Commentary

The recent limiting of sugar production in Poland and the consequent reduction of employment in the sector do not trigger serious social anxieties at present. The tendency to deal with problematic issues peacefully may be reinforced due to the Factory Collective Agreement that has been functioning in the largest employer in the sector, the National Sugar Company ‘Polish Sugar’, since February 2007. It is worth noting that the Chairman of the Association of Sugar Producers in Poland ( ZPC), who took part only indirectly in negotiations on this agreement, is also the Chairman of one of the sugar companies, Krajowa Spółka Cukrowa ‘Polski Cukier’ S.A. (KSC).

As far as the trade unions are concerned, it should be highlighted that there is good working relationships and cooperation between the two largest organisations representing the sugar industry, namely the OPZZ and the NSZZ ‘Solidarność’.

Piotr Sula, Institute of Public Affairs

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