European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Strikes in Lithuania: background summary

  • Lithuanian law defines a strike as a temporary suspension of work by the employees or a group of employees of one enterprise, several enterprises or a particular sector in the event of a collective dispute not being settled, in the event of failure to implement, or improper implementation of, a decision adopted by a conciliation commission or labour arbitration body which is acceptable to the employees, in the event of failure to resolve a collective labour dispute through a mediator or in the event of failure to implement an agreement reached during the mediation process. A strike may be preceded by a two-hour warning strike.
  • The right to adopt a decision to declare a strike (including a warning strike) is granted to a trade union according to the procedure laid down in its regulations. If there is no functioning trade union at the company and if the employee general meeting has not transferred the function of representation to the sectoral trade union, a works council has the right to adopt a decision to declare a strike. A strike is declared if a corresponding decision is approved by secret ballot by more than half of a company’s employees voting in favour of a strike in the company, or by more than half of the employees of a structural subdivision of the company voting in favour of a strike in that subdivision.
  • Important changes were made to the regulation of strikes in Lithuania in 2008. It was stipulated that not only trade unions but also works councils have the right to adopt a decision to declare a strike. Moreover, the requirements for declaring of a strike were relaxed, e.g. the proportion of employees of a company/structural subdivision voting in favour of a strike was reduced from two thirds to a half.
  • In 2010 the right to adopt a decision to declare a sectoral strike was enshrined in the Labour Code. According to the Code, the right to adopt a decision to declare a sectoral strike is granted to the sectoral trade union organisations under the procedure laid down in their regulations and after consideration at the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania.
  • The number of strikes in Lithuania is very low. There were six strikes in 2012 and 33 in 2014, whereas in 2013 and 2015 there were no strikes at all. The highest number of strikes during this period was recorded in 2016 (242) but they all took place in the education sector. The main reasons for this low number of strikes might be related to the historical absence of a culture of industrial action, strict regulation of strikes and a lack of strike funds. Although there are very few strikes, several times a year the trade unions usually organise various national pickets, actions and rallies.
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