Social partners sign national collective agreement for 2007–2010
At the end of December 2006, following two months of arduous collective bargaining, the new national collective agreement for the period 2007–2010 was registered with the Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family. Social partners took into account in their negotiations the fact that the latest amendments to both the domestic regulatory framework and the acquis communautaire were to be applicable in Romania from 1 January 2007.
Collective bargaining proceedings
In October 2006, collective bargaining commenced in relation to Romania’s new national collective agreement (RO0701029I). During the negotiations, the Alliance of Employer Confederations in Romania (Alianta Confederatiilor Patronale din România, ACPR) (RO0609039I) publicly outlined the views of its member organisations on its website (RO0701039I).
On 29 December 2006, the new national collective agreement was registered with the Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family (Ministerul Muncii, Solidaritatii Sociale si Familiei, MMSSF), thus bringing the agreement into effect from that date. Social partners took into account the fact that the latest amendments to both the domestic regulatory framework and the acquis communautaire (EU body of legislation) were to be applicable in Romania from 1 January 2007.
Provisions of agreement
The agreement includes new elements in relation to remuneration, health and safety at work, individual dismissal and collective redundancy, working time, vocational training and financial contributions of employees towards collective bargaining. Some of the main provisions of the agreement are outlined below.
Wages and other entitlements
The new elements in this part of the agreement include the following provisions:
- the national minimum gross wage for 2007 has been set at RON 440 (approximately €130 as at 26 February 2007), compared with RON 370 (about €110) as established in the previous addendum;
- minimum pay differentials related to the minimum wage are to be increased on the basis of employees’ educational background: the pay differential of employees who are secondary school graduates is to be increased from 1.1 to 1.2; of post secondary school graduates from 1.15 to 1.25; of short-term higher education graduates from 1.4 to 1.5; and of long-term higher education graduates from 1.5 to 2;
- adequate overtime pay, based on an increment of 100% of the basic wage, is to be provided for regardless of the number of additional working hours. According to the previous agreement, the increment was granted only for a maximum of 120 additional hours a year. This particular amendment was proposed by the employers.
The calculation of other employee entitlements is to be changed as follows:
- the indemnity granted to employees who have officially reached retirement age will now be equal to at least two basic monthly wages before retirement, compared with just one monthly wage as stipulated in the previous agreement;
- in the event of the death of an employee, the indemnity granted to the family is to be increased from one to at least two monthly average wages at company level;
- holiday bonuses are to be calculated on the basis of an average of three previous monthly wages, compared with just one previous monthly wage as provided for under the former collective agreement;
- the severance pay granted on termination of an individual employment contract, for reasons through no fault of the employee, is to be increased to one monthly wage, compared with 50% of the monthly wage as stipulated in the previous agreement.
Health and safety at work
The following health and safety provisions are provided for under the new agreement:
- in every company with at least 50 employees, it is now obligatory to set up a ‘health and safety at work committee’, made up of an equal number of employee or trade union representatives and employer representatives;
- the employer and employees must make a joint effort to transpose management standards in an effort to control stress at work; they must also establish a set of measures aimed at boosting employees’ motivation;
- it is compulsory to include in collective agreements the practice of regularly informing employees with respect to any changes occurring, or soon to be made, in terms of working conditions;
- from now on, cases of work relations’ malpractice must be investigated, and health and safety committees must implement punitive measures accordingly.
Individual and collective dismissals
A unique aspect of the new collective agreement is the compulsory investigation of employees involved in disciplinary cases prior to the application of any kind of sanction, as well as in the case of dismissals on grounds of professional incompetence. Employers are required to set up a commission to this effect, which must include a non-voting trade union representative.
The new agreement also stipulates that employers planning collective redundancies are obliged to consult with the trade union or employee representatives in advance, in order to reach an understanding; the proportion of time in advance for this consultation will depend on the number of employees in the company. At the very least, the consultations must focus on: the methods aimed at avoiding collective redundancies or a reduction of the number of redundant workers; and social measures designed to mitigate the consequences of redundancy, including retraining and professional requalification measures for employees.
In the previous collective agreement, non-union employees were obliged to pay a monthly contribution amounting to 0.3% of the monthly wage as financial support for collective bargaining, given that such a process is also in their interest. Employer organisations planned to remove this provision from the new collective agreement. However, not only does the new agreement maintain this provision, it also increases the contribution from 0.3% to 0.6% of the monthly wage.
Constantin Ciutacu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy