European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Industrial relations in Lithuania: background summary

Industrial relations in Lithuania: background summary

  • Under current legislation, social partnerships in Lithuania may be developed at the following levels: national, sectoral (production, services and professional), territorial (municipality, county), and among enterprises, agencies, and their structural subdivisions. In practice, the best developed social dialogue is at company and national level.
  • Lithuania’s main national institution for social dialogue is the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania (TCRL). The TCRL was established in 1995 following an agreement on a tripartite partnership signed by the government, the major national trade unions and employers’ organisations. The TCRL is based on the principle of equal tripartite partnership, and seeks to tackle social, economic and labour issues through mutual agreement by the parties concerned. The Council is made up of representatives of trade unions, employers’ organisations and the government. All legislative drafts that are submitted to the government on relevant labour, social and economic issues should be agreed in advance with the TCRL.
  • There are currently six employers’ organisations represented in the Tripartite Council: the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, the Confederation of Lithuanian Employers, the Association of Lithuanian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, the Chamber of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania, the Investors’ Forum and the Lithuanian Business Confederation (the last two only joined the Council in 2017).
  • There are two main national trade union confederations in Lithuania: the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation and the Lithuanian trade union ‘Solidarumas’. Recently (at the beginning of 2017) two more trade union confederations joined the Council: the National Joint Trade Union and the Lithuanian trade union ‘Sandrauga’. As these two confederations do not meet all of the criteria for membership of the Council (they are not members of any international/European trade union confederation) they share a single seat in the Council. Other criteria for joining the Council include having members or representatives in regions, being active for at least three years, covering at least 0.5 % of the country’s employees.
  • The national trade union confederations have both sectoral and regional level affiliates. Although they do not provide exact public/private sector membership figures, the sectoral structure of the confederations reveals that public sector members account for more than half of the total trade union membership in Lithuania.
  • Trade union membership in Lithuania in general is quite low and during the last decade it has been steadily decreasing. According to Lithuanian Statistics, between 2006 and 2015 the number of trade union members in Lithuania fell from 112 600 to 92 000, with trade union density thus falling from 10.1 % to 7.9 %.
  • Under current legislation, if an enterprise, agency or organisation has no functioning trade union and if the general staff meeting has not transferred the function of employee representation and protection to the trade union of the appropriate economic sector, the employees shall be represented by the works council elected by secret ballot at the general meeting of the staff.
  • Collective bargaining in Lithuania takes place primarily at company level (with the exception of a few sectors). Despite the efforts of the social partners to increase the importance of sectoral collective bargaining, the practice is not yet widely accepted. National social dialogue has played a relatively important role for a number of years. However, the social partners’ discussions in the Tripartite Council cannot be considered to be real collective bargaining. Wage bargaining takes place only at company level.
  • According to the European Company Survey (2013), almost 20 % of employees are covered by collective wage bargaining in Lithuania (private sector companies with more than 10 employees). There are no national data/surveys on the collective bargaining coverage in Lithuania. According to experts, the overall collective bargaining coverage in Lithuania could be less than 15-20 %.
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