Poland: The representativeness of trade unions and employer associations in the private security sector

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 15 May 2013



About
Country:
Poland
Author:
Adam Mrozowicki, Institute of Public Affairs, University of Wroclaw
Institution:

The private security sector in Poland is developing rapidly. The value of the security services market was estimated in 2008 at PLN 5.8 billion (EUR 1.3 billion as at 31 May 2012). According to the social partners, the sector currently employs up to 250,000 people. Of these, 30% work in the sector’s eight largest companies, with the remainder employed in its many small and medium enterprises. It is a sector characterised by low wages, non-standard contracts (such as those for freelance work or specific tasks. The density of both trade unions and employer organisations in the sector is low. Consequently, collective bargaining coverage does not exceed 10%.

Sectoral properties

Economic background

According to Eurostat, the private security sector in Poland employed 140,987 people in 2008. However, the social partners estimate that the actual number of employees in the sector can be as high as 250,000, if those employed on contract for freelance work or for specific tasks are included. The sector expanded in the 1990s as security services were outsourced to private companies.

As a result of fierce competition on price, employment conditions are characterised by:

  • very low wages with an average of PLN 5.6 (EUR 1.2) gross per hour;
  • overtime work (security guards average 300 hours per month);
  • freelance contracts, which bypass the Labour Code.

The economic crisis has exacerbated this situation. The greatest attempt to improve employment conditions in the sector was a campaign launched in 2007 by Union Development Office of NSZZ Solidarność. It wanted to organise trade unions in the largest private security companies and raise the minimum wage in the sector to PLN 10 gross (EUR 2.3) per hour. Trade unions, together with the Polish Employers' Union Security (PZP Ochrona) were also consulted about proposals for regulating employment in the sector, but this kind of regulation is still limited.

Development of employment

Table 1: Sectoral properties
 

1998

2008

Number of companies in the sector

Not available

3,500

Source of company data

n.a.

Employer organisation PZP Ochrona. (estimate).

Aggregate employment

n.a.

140,987

Male employment

n.a.

n.a.

Female employment

n.a.

n.a.

Share of sectoral employment in %

n.a.

n.a.

Source of employment figures

n.a.

Structural business statistics (SBS) provided for this study by EF

Comment

n.a.

According to social partners, the sector employs up to 250,000 employees.

Aggregate employees

n.a.

140,987

Male employees

n.a.

n.a.

Female employees

n.a.

n.a.

Share of sectoral employees in %

n.a.

n.a.

Comment

There is no data on employment in this sector in publicly available statistics in Poland.

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

(i) trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining

(ii) trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. UNI-Europa – Property Services) and are members of the existing European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee.

(iii) employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

(iv) employer associations (business associations) which are a member of the sector-related European Employer/Business Federations (i.e. CoESS – Confederation of European Security Services)

2a Data on the trade unions

Table 2: Union fact sheet: Intercompany Union Organisation of Independent Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarność of Security, Catering and Cleaning Workers (MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

NSZZ Solidarność is a general workers’ (unitary) union, its global affiliations include International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD. MOZ NSZZ Solidaność POCS is directly affiliated to Uni Global Union (Uni Property Services branch).

Affiliation to European-level organisations

NSZZ Solidarność is affiliated to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC); MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS is affiliated to Uni Europa - Property Services.

Affiliation to national-level organisations

NSZZ Solidarnosc is a general workers’ (unitary) union; MOZ is an internal intercompany structure within the union, formally affiliated to Mazowiecki Region of NSZZ Solidarność.

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

OZZP PO, the Confederation of Labour (KP)

2010
‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

4,126

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

4,126

2010
‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

3,276

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

3,276

Female membership as a % of total members

27%

Source of sectoral membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Union density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral domain density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Union density - total members

n.g.

Sectoral density - total members

3%

Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

The union is an inter-company union organisation that predominantly represents security guards. It also represents cleaning employees and employees in food services.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

The union also represents a small number of self-employed security guards.

Table 3: Union fact sheet: All-Poland Trade Union of Security Employees (OZZPO)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

Not affiliated.

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Not affiliated.

Affiliation to national-level organisations

Not affiliated.

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

Yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

Congruence

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

Yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS, the Confederation of Labour

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

600

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

600

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

600

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

600

Female membership as a % of total members

0

Source of sectoral membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Union density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral domain density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Union density - total members

n.g.

Sectoral density - total members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

The union is an inter-company union organisation that represents security guards..

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

No

Table 4: Union fact sheet: All-Poland Workers' Trade Union Confederation of Labour (KP)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

OPZZ is affiliated to ITUC.

Affiliation to European-level organisations

OPZZ is affiliated to ETUC.

Affiliation to national-level organisations

All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

Yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

Overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

Yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS, OZZP PO

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

10,000

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

10,000

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

60–100

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

60–100

Female membership as a % of total members

n.g.

Source of sectoral membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Union density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral domain density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

Union density - total members

n.g.

Sectoral density - total members

n.g.

Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

Description of union's domain with regard to sector

Within the sector, the union consists of two company-level union organisations that cover security guards. Outside the sector, it is a unitary multi-sectoral trade union that can potentially cover all economic sectors.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

No

2b Data on the employer associations

Table 5: Employers’ organisation: Polish Employers' Union Security (PZP Ochrona)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

Not affiliated.

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Not affiliated.

Affiliation to national-level organisations

Not affiliated. However, the Mazowsze region (around Warsaw) of PZP Ochrona is affiliated to The Polish Confederation of Private Employers ‘Leviathan’ (Polska Konfederacja Pracodawców Prywatnych ‘Lewiatan’, PKPP Lewiatan)

Engagement in sectoral-related collective bargaining

No

Consultation in sector-related matters

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

Overlap

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

No

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

Not relevant. It is the only employer organisation in the sector.

2010

Number of member companies, total

160

Number of employees in member companies, total

25,000–70,000

2010

Number of member companies in sector

n.g.

Number of employees in member companies in sector

n.g.

Source of membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Domain density - companies

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral density - companies

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral domain density - companies

Very low: 0%–9%

Domain density - employees

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral density - employees

Very low: 0%–9%

Sectoral domain density - employees

Very low: 0%–9%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

PZP Ochrona covers the whole security sector. It also covers a limited number of companies working for security sector, including security training companies and companies producing outfits and equipment for security guards. However, no estimations were provided on the number of companies in the sector itself.

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

No

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

3a.1 Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

There are three main trade union organisations in the sector whose domain overlap:

  • MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS
  • Confederation of Labour (KP) affiliated to OPZZ
  • Autonomous Union Federation OZZPO
  • addition, there is an autonomous All-Poland Branch Trade Union of Security Employees (OBZZPO) which has around 300 members. However, OBZZPO is not involved in concluding collective agreements and therefore is not covered by this study.

3a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Trade unions in the sector do not compete over the right to conclude collective agreements. At enterprise level, they all enjoy such rights. All three main trade unions are also consulted by public authorities on the issues of policy formulation and implementation.

3a.3 If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

Not relevant.

3b Inter-employer association relationships

3b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

Not relevant. PZP Ochrona is the only employer association in the sector.

3b.2 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?

Not relevant.

3b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

Not relevant.

3b.4 Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

In most large companies the recognition of trade unions has resulted from pressure exerted by the unions. An explicit refusal to recognise trade unions is nowadays rare. This reflects two factors.

  • The existing unions operate mostly in the eight largest companies, which employ around 30% of the sector’s total labour force. They rarely extend their activities to other companies.
  • In the unionised companies, the situation of trade unions has been formalised. For instance, MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS concluded an agreement with the management that enables it to recruit new employees in seven companies, in which it operates.

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).

There are two company-level collective agreements concluded in this sector, in companies employing around 20,000 employees. Taking into account the Eurostat employment figures, collective bargaining coverage would be around 14%. However, since employment in the sector is probably higher than suggested by Eurostat, the coverage is likely to be lower (8%–10%)

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.)

There are no multi-employer collective agreements in the sector. Employers are reluctant to conclude them because of sharp competition over the price of security services. Also, both trade unions and employer organisations have limited power and coverage to conclude any binding collective agreements.

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

Not relevant.

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 2008 (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.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Not relevant. According to social partners there are no multi-employer wage agreements concluded in the sector.

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2008 (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. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

Table 6: Four most important agreements in terms of employees covered

Bargaining parties

Purview of the agreements

 

Sectoral

Type of employees

Territorial

IMPEL Group (employer)

Trade Union of Impel Group Employees (autonomous company trade union)

OZZPO

Confederation of Labour

NSZZ Solidarność

Company-level collective agreement in a company active in security, catering and cleaning sectors

Security guards, armed escorts, monitoring employees, intervention groups, catering, cleaning

All Poland

Konsalnet Konwój Sp. z o.o. (employer)

OZZ PO

Confederation of Labour

Company-level agreement, security sector

Armed escorts

All Poland

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

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

Social partners are sometimes consulted on sector-specific matters at bipartite meetings. As over 30% of the private security sector’s clients are public institutions, the most debated problem is the Public Procurement Law. The law seems to suggest that the cheapest services should be chosen - which contributes to a lowering of wages in the sector. Trade unions (all federations) and PZP wanted to develop a model for public procurement announcements that would avoid a one-sided focus on price. However, such a model has not yet been developed.

Other problems have also been discussed at meetings of PZP Ochrona, unions (the Confederation of Labour, OZZ PO, OBZZ PO) and representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (MSWiA), the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MPiPS), the Ministry of Health (MZ) and the Chief Labour Inspector. They included, among others:

  • amendments to the Act on the Personal and Property Security;
  • proposals on the Act of Investigation Services;
  • orders by the Ministry of Health on medical tests for security employees;

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:

Table 7: Sector-specific public policies*

Name of the body and scope of activity

Bipartite/tripartite

Origin: agreement/statutory

Trade unions having representatives (reps)

Employer associations having reps.

Working Group for the Employment Conditions of Security Employees

(Employment regulation)

Tripartite

agreement

NSZZ Solidarność

Confederation of Labour OPZZ

PZP Ochrona

PKPP Lewiatan

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

Sector-related policies are occasionally discussed at meetings of the Tripartite Team for the Problems of Labour Law and Collective Agreements, which functions within the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic Affairs. As a part of the eam, there is a Working Group for the Employment Conditions of Security Employees. The group met three times after being set up in 2008, but meetings were suspended in 2010 partly due to its limited influence on the actual employment conditions of security employees.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade unions

6a.1 In the case of the trade 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.

At enterprise level any union is allowed to enter into a single-employer agreement, so all unions active within the companies are entitled to be a party to agreement of such type. However, at supra-enterprise level only representative unions have the right to be parties to multi-employer collective agreements.

Under clause 241/17 of the Labour Code, in order to be recognised as representative, a union has to meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • have representative status within the meaning of the Act regarding the Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs and the voivodship social dialogue commissions;
  • represent at least 10% of total employees within a formally demarcated domain (not less, however, than 10,000 members);
  • have the highest number of members within the group of employees to be covered by a multi-employer agreement.

Both MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS and the Confederation of Labour, as the members of nationally representative trade union organisations (NSZZ Solidarność and OPZZ, respectively) would be eligible to conclude a multi-employer collective agreement. However, as no such agreements exist, it is purely hypothetical..

6a.2 In the case of the trade 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.

In general, trade unions meeting the representativeness criteria set out in the Act above and active within a given sector are routinely included in tripartite sectoral bodies, but other unions active within the sector can also enter a sectoral body by mutual consent of all the participants. In the case of the security sector, MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS and the Confederation of Labour meet these criteria. In addition, MOZ NSZZ Solidarność POCS, OZZ PO, the Confederation of Labour are consulted on ad-hoc basis in matters of public policy at the level of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No, as under currently binding legislation trade unions no longer enjoy the right to appoint works councils, which are now elected by the workforce.

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employers organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation 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.

At the enterprise-level, it is a specific employer who enjoys the right to conclude a single-employer (enterprise-level) collective agreement. By virtue of the Clause 241/15 of the Labour Code, any employer association has a right to conclude collective agreements at supra-enterprise level. PZP Ochrona, as the only employer organisation in the sector, can conclude collective agreements. However, it has not been active in this field so far.

6b.2 In the case of the employer’s organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation 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.

In general, an employer association has to meet either the representativeness criteria set by the Act or, as in the case of PZP Ochrona, be admitted by the members of a given tripartite sectoral body. PZP Ochrona is also consulted by public authorities about sector-related issues on an ad-hoc basis.

6b.3 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.

Not relevant.

7. Commentary

Both the employer organisation and trade unions have limited influence on the regulation of employment conditions in the Polish private security sector. The main reason is their limited representativeness. Trade unions effectively represent workers in eight largest companies. PZP Ochrona associates barely 160 employers out of some 3,500 companies in the sector. As exemplified by joint attempts to modify the interpretation of the Public Procurement Act, the goals of both the employer organisation and trade unions with regard to public policies are often similar. However, their power is too limited to negotiate single-employer and multi-employer collective agreements in private companies. An attempt to solve sector-specific problems via tripartite consultation in the Tripartite Commission has not produced tangible outcomes so far.

Adam Mrozowicki, Institute of Public Affairs, University of Wroclaw

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