Collective Agreement Coverage

All negotiations that take place between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers` organizations and one or more workers` organizations to define working conditions and employment are part of collective bargaining. The scope of collective bargaining covers all workers whose remuneration and/or conditions of employment are fixed by one or more collective agreements, including workers benefiting from agreements on the basis of their extension. Scope and extension are key elements of national institutions in industrial relations in general and bargaining systems in particular. Firstly, there is almost by definition a close link between coverage and enlargement. As shown by comparative analyses (see national industrial relations in internationalized markets. A comparative study of institutions, change and performance, F Traxler, S Blaschke and B Kittel, Oxford University Press, 2001), is the extent to which enlargement mechanisms are used in a country is the most important individual determinant for differences in the coverage of negotiations between countries: coverage tends to increase significantly with the use of enlargement practices. Conversely, the applicability and effective use of extension mechanisms depend decisively on the nature of the trading system. For obvious reasons, extension rules can only be effectively enforced in the context of collective agreements with several employers. Extension procedures in which a collective agreement is extended to a given geographical or sectoral territory outside its actual scope are much rarer in the 20 countries studied and exist only in Austria, Portugal and Spain: the most fundamental gap in the sectors is between the private and public parts of the economy – see Table 3 below for data for 11 countries, in which such information is available. With the exception of Hungary, Portugal and Austria, the coverage of the public sector is higher than that of the private sector, although in some countries the right to bargain does not belong to all categories of public sector employees. This indicates that public employers are more willing to negotiate than private employers when the right to bargain is established.

Latvia: number of persons employed at the end of October by collective agreement by type of activity, Central Statistical Office of Latvia, 2009; As shown in table 7 below, extension provisions are quite widespread in the 20 countries under consideration. With the exception of Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, all countries have at least one extension mechanism, such as extension in the strict sense of the term, extension of collective agreements or functional equivalents. . . .

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