Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Railways sector – Lithuania

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 07 December 2008



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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 railways sector in Lithuania. 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. The study is divided into two parts: the first part deals with railway transport operations, based on research carried out in 2006; the second part focuses on rail infrastructure based on research completed in 2007.

Introduction

Only one enterprise operates in the railways sector – the joint stock company Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai, LG). A total of two national-level trade unions are present in LG and have formed joint representation, together signing collective agreements of the enterprise. No employer organisation exists in the sector; employers are represented by the managing director of the enterprise.

Part 1 – Railway transport operations

1. Sectoral properties

Lithuanian Statistics (Lietuvos statistikos departamentas, STD) officially publishes information on the number of companies, employment and number of employees for generalised economic activities, distinguishing the economic sector of ‘Transport, storage and communication’. Table 1 outlines information on the number of companies and employment in this sector for 1998 and 2005.

Table 1: Profile of transport, storage and communication sector
  1998 2005
Number of companies 6,479* 5,861**
Aggregate employment 99,200 93,900
Male employment 65,900 68,500
Female employment 33,400 25,400
Aggregate employees 83,700* 83,200**
Male employees 55,700* 58,400**
Female employees 28,000* 24,800**
Aggregate sectoral employment as % of total employment in economy 6.7% 6.4%
Aggregate sectoral employees as % of total number of employees in economy 7.8%* 7.5%**

Notes: * in 2000. ** in 2004.

2. The sector’s unions and employer associations

As noted, LG is the only company operating in the Lithuanian railway sector, according to NACE 60.1 of the general industrial classification of economic activities within the European Communities (Nomenclature générale des activités économiques dans les Communautés européennes, NACE). Employing about 11,000 workers, LG is a state capital enterprise. LG’s Association of Railroads Services Enterprises (Geležinkelių paslaugų įmonių asociacija, GELPA) is a member of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists (Lietuvos pramonininkų konfederacija, LPK). GELPA unites four enterprises providing railway maintenance services not covered by NACE 60.1. Therefore, it is not analysed in further detail in this report.

2a Data on the unions

The following two sectoral trade unions operate in the railways sector in Lithuania: the Lithuanian Federation of Railway Workers ( Lietuvos geležinkelininkų profsąjungų federacija, LGPF) and the Association of Trade Unions of Lithuanian Railway Workers (Lietuvos geležinkelininkų profesinių sąjungų susivienijimas, LGPSS). One more trade union is registered – the Trade Union of Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkelio profesinė sąjunga, LGPS) – but currently no reliable data are available regarding its activities. Railway workers of the Kaunas region in central Lithuania are also represented by the United Trade Union (Jungtinė profesinė sąjunga, JPS).

LGPF

2a.1 Type of membership

Membership of LGPF is voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain

LGPF represents workers in any position employed in LG and two subsidiaries of LG.

2a.3 Number of members

LGPF unites 2,560 members, who are employed at LG and its subsidiaries.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

Women account for approximately 50% of LGPF members.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain & 2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

As only one company is operating in the sector, the domain of LGPF activities and the domain of the study coincide. LG employs about 11,000 workers, and LGPF unites about 23% of all employees in LG.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

LGPF and LGPSS have established joint representation and together sign collective agreements of the enterprise. The last collective agreement was signed in July 2006.

2a.8 Affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations

LGPF is a sectoral organisation of the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (Lietuvos profesinių sąjungų konfederacija, LPSK). LGPF is also a member of European and global transport organisations – the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

LGPSS

2a.1 Type of membership

Membership of LGPSS is voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain

LGPSS unites workers of any position employed at LG, except for managers.

2a.3 Number of members

LGPSS represents 1,500 members, who are employed at LG.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

Women account for approximately 40% of LGPSS members.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain & 2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

As only one company is operating in the sector, the domain of LGPSS activities and the domain of the study coincide. LG employs about 11,000 workers and LGPSS unites about 14% of all employees in the enterprise.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

LGPSS and LGPF have established joint representation and together sign collective agreements of the enterprise. The last collective agreement was signed in July 2006.

2a.8 Affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations

LGPSS is a sectoral organisation of the Lithuanian Labour Federation (Lietuvos darbo federacija, LDF). In addition, LGPSS is a member of the International Federation of Trade Unions of Transport Workers (Fédération Internationale des Organisations Syndicales du Personnel des Transports, FIOST).

JPS

2a.1 Type of membership

Membership of JPS is voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain

JPS represents all workers employed at LG in the Kaunas region.

2a.3 Number of members

JPS unites 200 members who are employed at LG in the Kaunas region.

2a.4 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

Women account for about 18% of all JPS members employed at LG.

2a.5 Density with regard to the union domain

JPS represents workers employed in various fields – not only railway workers – in the Kaunas region. Unfortunately, the trade union does not indicate the exact number of its members.

2a.6 Density of the union with regard to the sector

LG employs about 11,000 workers, and JPS gathers about 2% all LG employees.

2a.7 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

At the time of writing, JPS had been operating in the railway sector for only a year. Therefore, it did not share in the signing of the collective agreement. In addition, this trade union represents employees of one region only.

2a.8 Affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations

JPS does not belong to any national association or international organisation.

2b Data on the employer associations

No employer organisations are present in the railway sector in Lithuania.

3. Inter-associational relationships

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

LGPF, LGPSS and JPS.

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? & 3.3. Are certain unions excluded from these rights?

At present, no competition arises among LGPF and LGPSS concerning the right to conclude collective agreements or to be consulted, because they have entered into joint representation and together represent the interests of LG employees. Such competition used to exist between the present joint representation and LGPS. The Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania (Darbo kodeksas, DK) stipulates that, where several trade unions are acting in an enterprise, the enterprise’s collective agreement shall be concluded by joint representation of the trade unions and the employer. The joint representation of the trade unions shall be formed by an agreement between the unions; if the trade unions fail to reach agreement on the formation of their joint representation, the decision on representation shall be adopted by a meeting (conference) of the employees. As the acting trade unions failed to reach agreement on their joint representation in 2003, the meeting of the employees delegated the function of their representation to LGPF and LGPSS. Thus, LGPS was eliminated from the further procedures of collective bargaining.

In 2005, the newly formed JPS took over a portion of the trade union members employed in companies in the Kaunas region. At the time of writing, the new trade union had not expressed any claims so far in respect of signing the enterprise’s collective agreement. According to JPS representatives, they initiate consultations with employer representatives on issues of concern and cooperate in addressing problems specific to their members.

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage & 4.2. Relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered

The signed collective agreement of the enterprise covers 100% of employees in the railways sector, as LG is the sole enterprise belonging to this sector. Therefore, this agreement is significant for the governing of industrial relations in the railways sector. Accordingly, the DK and the collective agreement apply to the railways sector, and provisions of the collective agreement may not make the employees’ situation worse than those stipulated in the DK.

4.3. Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements valid in 2004 (or most recent data)

As noted, the last collective agreement was signed in July 2006. This collective agreement does not fully meet the characteristics of a sectoral collective agreement, as it was not signed by an employer organisation but by an individual employer. Nevertheless, it applies to all employees in the sector. The agreement contains provisions regulating pay issues. For example, it prescribes that LG employees shall be paid a 1.6 times higher wage for overtime, while the DK fixes an overtime premium rate of one and a half times normal wages.

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?

Although LG is a state capital enterprise, the employer’s functions are performed by the company director rather than a state authority. The Ministry of Communication (Susisiekimo ministerija, SM) in particular declares its support for social partnership and consultation on issues of interest; however, such consultations – according to the trade union representatives – are often rather formal.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist?

No bipartite or tripartite councils exist in the railway sector to deal with sector-specific issues. In case of specific problems or during collective bargaining, a bipartite commission is formed from representatives of the employer and trade unions to deal with issues relevant to them.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6.1. & 6.4. Criteria of representativeness which a union/employer association must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements

No regulations in the Republic of Lithuania define the criteria of representativeness of employer organisations and trade union organisations. Representativeness in concluding collective agreements is defined by an organisation itself in its incorporation documents. In order to be entitled to sign a sectoral collective agreement, a trade union must specify in its statutes or incorporation documents that it is a sectoral trade union. The same procedure applies in the establishment of employers’ representativeness: an employer organisation must define in its statutes that signing of collective agreements is one of its activity domains. Where the employer organisations and trade unions properly formulate their statutes, collective agreements signed by them are deemed duly concluded.

6.2. & 6.5. Criteria of representativeness which a union/employer association must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies

No regulations in the Republic of Lithuania define the criteria of representativeness which a trade union and employer organisation must meet to be entitled to be consulted.

6.3. & 6.6. Elections for a certain representational body as criteria for union/employer association representativeness

Elections for a certain representational body do not determine the representativeness of a trade union or employer organisation; representativeness is in all cases defined in the incorporation documents of the organisation itself.

7. Commentary

The railways sector is better represented than any other economic sector in Lithuania. Trade unions in LG cooperate reasonably well with each other and LG’s collective agreement includes several conditions ensuring better working conditions for the employees of the enterprise and sector compared with the national average. The main problem is that only one company operates in the railways sector. Therefore, no sectoral employer organisation exists to conclude a collective agreement.

Part 2 – Railway infrastructure

In Lithuania, several trade unions operate in the railway infrastructure sector. The railway company LG constitutes the major component of their activities. A collective agreement is signed in LG covering all employees in the company, including those employed in railway service activities. The employees of LG also account for the majority of employees in the particular sector under study. No employer organisation is present in the sector; accordingly, no sectoral collective agreement is signed in the railway infrastructure sector.

1. Sectoral properties

STD officially publishes information on the number of companies, employment and number of employees for generalised economic activities, distinguishing the economic sector of ‘Transport, storage and communication’. Table 2 outlines information on the number of companies and employment in this sector for 1998 and 2006.

Table 2: Profile of transport, storage and communication sector
  1998 2006
Number of companies    
Aggregate employment*    
Male employment*    
Female employment*    
Aggregate employees**    
Male employees    
Female employees    
Aggregate sectoral employment as % of total employment in economy    
Aggregate sectoral employees as % of total number of employees in economy**    

Notes: * in 2000. ** average number of employees converted into full-time equivalents. *** in 2005.

2. The sector’s unions and employer associations

2a Data on the unions

The following sectoral trade unions operate in the railway infrastructure sector in Lithuania, and are most active in LG: LGPF and LGPSS. Another trade union is registered – LGPS – but currently no reliable data are available regarding its activities. One further trade union is active in this area, representing a small number of members in the railway infrastructure sector – the Railwaymen’s Trade Union (Geležinkelininkų profesinė sąjunga, GPS).

The following Lithuanian companies are attributed to the sector of NACE 63.21: LG’s subdivisions Railways Infrastructure (Geležinkelių infrastruktūra, GI), joint stock company (uždara akcinė bendrovė, UAB) Gelmagis, UAB Track Relaying Centre (Geležinkelių tiesimo centras, GTC) and UAB Vilnius Locomotive Repair Depot (Vilniaus lokomotyvų remonto depas, VLRD). These four companies employ about 4,480 employees in total.

LGPF

2a.1 Type of membership

Membership of LGPF is voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain

LGPF represents workers of any position – except for managers – employed at LG, Gelmagis, GTC and VLRD.

2a.3 Number of union members

According to administrative data from the trade union, LGPF unites 3,000 members.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

According to union figures, LGPF represents 1,510 members working in the sector of NACE 63.21.

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

Women account for about 50% of LGPF members, according to administrative data from the union.

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

LGPF is operating most actively in LG, which employs about 11,000 staff members including 3,536 employees of GI. The trade union is also active in Gelmagis, which employs about 150 workers, GTC with about 150 workers and VLRD with about 650 workers; these staff totals are based on the trade union’s administrative data. Therefore, LGPF density with regard to the union domain is estimated at about 25%.

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

LGPF represents an estimated proportion of about 34% of employees working in the railway infrastructure sector (NACE 63.21).

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

LGPF and LGPSS have established joint representation and together sign collective agreements of LG. The collective agreement signed with LG also covers employees of GI. The collective agreements are signed in all other companies where LGPF has members.

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

LGPF is a sectoral organisation of LPSK. LGPF is also a member of European and global transport organisations – ETF, ITF and the International Railway and Railway Transport Development Confederation.

LGPSS

2a.1 Type of membership

Membership of LGPSS is voluntary.

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

LGPSS represents workers in any post – except for managers – employed at LG and GI.

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

According to administrative data from the union, LGPSS gathers 1,200 members who are employed at LG.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

According to union figures, the trade union represents 540 members employed in the railway infrastructure sector (NACE 63.21). All of these members are employees of GI.

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

Women account for approximately 40% of LGPSS members.

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

LGPSS only operates in LG and its subsidiary GI. Overall, LG employs about 11,000 workers and LGPSS unites about 11% of all employees in the enterprise.

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

LGPSS unites an estimated 15% of employees working in the railway infrastructure sector (NACE 63.21) – in GI.

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

LGPF and LGPSS have established joint representation and together sign collective agreements of LG.

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

LGPSS is a sectoral organisation of LDF. In addition, LGPSS is a member of FIOST.

GPS

2a.1 Type of membership

Membership of GPS is voluntary.

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain

GPS represents workers of any position – except for managers – employed at LG.

2a.3 Number of union members

GPS unites about 300 members, according to administrative data from the union.

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

GPS gathers 70 members working in the sector of NACE 63.21, according to union figures.

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

Women account for about 25% of GPS members, according to union data.

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

GPS only operates in LG, which employs about 11,000 staff member. Therefore, GPS density with regard to the union domain is estimated at about 3%.

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

GPS gathers an estimated total of about 2% of employees working in the railway infrastructure sector (NACE 63.21).

2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

GPS did not sign the LG collective agreement, as the agreement was signed and the joint representation was established before GPS was formed. Nonetheless, the collective agreement covers all LG employees including members of GPS.

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

GPS is a member of JPS, which in turn is a member of the Union of Lithuanian Regional Trade Unions (Lietuvos regioninių profesinių sąjungų susivienijimas, LRPSS). None of these three organisations are affiliated to any higher-level national, European or international association.

Union density is defined as the ratio of union members to potential union members, as demarcated by the union’s domain and by the sector.

If the domain of a union embraces only part of the sector, then the data on density should refer to this part.

2b Data on the employer associations

No employer organisations exist in the railway infrastructure sector in Lithuania.

GELPA and the Lithuanian Roads Association (Asociacija Lietuvos keliai) are members of LPK. However, they do not belong to any international organisations, such as the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) or the European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM). Moreover, their representatives explained that they do not assume the functions of an employer organisation acting as a social partner in terms of the labour law. Accordingly, neither organisation is analysed in detail in this study.

3. Inter-associational relationships

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

LGPF, LGPSS and GPS.

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?

At present, no competition arises among LGPF and LGPSS concerning the right to conclude collective agreements or to be consulted, because they have entered into joint representation and together represent the interests of LG employees. Such competition used to exist between the present joint representation and LGPS. The Labour Code stipulates that, where several trade unions are acting in an enterprise, the enterprise’s collective agreement shall be concluded by joint representation of the trade unions and the employer. The joint representation of the trade unions shall be formed by an agreement between the unions; if the trade unions fail to reach agreement on the formation of their joint representation, the decision on representation shall be adopted by a meeting (conference) of the employees. As the acting trade unions failed to reach agreement on their joint representation in 2003, the meeting of the employees delegated the function of their representation to LGPF and LGPSS. Thus, LGPS was eliminated from the further procedures of collective bargaining.

GPS was established in 2005. According to the President of JPS, Arvydas Dambrauskas, currently JPS together with GPS are negotiating with the joint representation regarding the possibility of participating in the process of renewal of the LG collective agreement. According to the JPS representatives, they initiate consultations with employer representatives on issues of concern and cooperate in addressing problems specific to their members.

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

LGPS and JPS.

3.4. Same question for employer associations as 3.1.

No employer organisation exists for railway infrastructure.

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage

The LG collective agreement covers all employees of the company, including employees of GI. Collective agreements at enterprise level are also signed in Gelmagis, GTC and VLRD. The collective agreements of these companies cover an estimated 100% of employees in the sector under study.

As the corporate bodies uniting undertakings carrying out railway maintenance and servicing do not assume the functions of employer organisations, the corresponding trade unions are not able to sign collective agreements at sectoral level.

4.2. Relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered

In this sector, company-level collective agreements play a particularly important role in the regulation of employees’ working conditions as no collective agreements exist at sectoral level.

4.3. Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements valid in 2005 (or most recent data)

The LG collective agreement does not fully meet the characteristics of a sectoral collective agreement, as it was not signed by an employer organisation but by an individual employer. Nevertheless, the agreement covers all of the company’s employees, accounting for the majority of workers in the given sector. The agreement contains provisions regulating pay issues. For example, it stipulates that LG employees shall be paid a 1.6 times higher wage for overtime work, while the Labour Code fixes an overtime premium rate of one and a half times normal wages.

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?

Although LG is a state capital enterprise, the employer’s functions are performed by the company director rather than a state authority. The Ministry of Communication in particular declares its support for social dialogue and consultation on issues of interest; however, such consultations – according to the trade union representatives – are often rather formal.

Undertakings engaged in railway service activities operate through associations which seek consultation with the authorities.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist?

No bipartite or tripartite councils exist in the railway infrastructure sector to deal with sector-specific issues. In case of specific problems or during collective bargaining – in LG at least – a bipartite commission is formed from representatives of the employer and trade unions to deal with issues relevant to them.

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?

No regulations in the Republic of Lithuania define the criteria of representativeness of trade union organisations. Representativeness in concluding collective agreements is defined by an organisation itself in its incorporation documents. In order to be entitled to sign a sectoral collective agreement, a trade union must specify in its statutes or incorporation documents that it is a sectoral trade union. Where the trade union properly formulates its statutes, collective agreements signed are deemed duly concluded.

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?

No regulations in Lithuania define the criteria of representativeness which a trade union must meet to be entitled to be consulted.

6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for union representativeness?

Elections for a certain representational body do not determine the representativeness of a trade union; representativeness is in all cases defined in the incorporation documents of the organisation itself.

6.4. Same question for employer associations as 6.1.

No regulations in the Republic of Lithuania define the criteria of representativeness of employer organisations. Representativeness in concluding collective agreements is defined by an organisation itself in its incorporation documents. In order to be entitled to sign a sectoral collective agreement, an employer organisation must specify in its statutes or incorporation documents that signing of collective agreements is one of its activity domains. Where the employer organisations properly formulate their statutes, collective agreements signed by them are deemed duly concluded.

6.5. Same question for employer associations as 6.2.

No regulations in Lithuania define the criteria of representativeness which an employer organisation must meet to be entitled to be consulted.

6.6. Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations?

Elections for a certain representational body do not determine the representativeness of an employer organisation; representativeness is in all cases defined in the incorporation documents of the organisation itself.

7. Commentary

The railway infrastructure sector is one of the most unionised sectors in the country, with a long tradition of collective bargaining. Some years ago, considerable opposition arose between the trade unions operating mainly in LG; however, lately trade unions have reached an agreement and now two main trade unions have established joint representation and together sign collective agreements of LG.

This study analysed four main undertakings having trade unions and operating in the railway infrastructure sector (NACE 63.21). All employees in those enterprises are covered by company-level collective agreements. It is possible that a few other small enterprises are operating in the sector; however, the authors of this report do not have information about them and no trade unions are present in those companies if they exist.

Jolanta Cinaitienė and Inga Blažienė, Institute of Labour and Social Research

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