Collective Agreement Issues

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Collective Agreement Issues

Table 2 shows the extent and distribution of negotiations on one employer (enterprise) and several employers (sector, region, national) since 2000. First, it should be noted that where negotiations with a single employer prevail, only a minority of workers have access to collective bargaining. As a general rule, these are workers employed in large enterprises, in parts of the mining and manufacturing industry, as well as in the privatized supply sector (posts, railways, airlines, telecommunications, etc.) and, unless excluded from collective bargaining, in public administration, health and education. It is only in the 14 countries that negotiate several employers that collective bargaining reaches the majority of workers. In the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), employers` organizations had to be created after 1989, which was extremely difficult outside the former public sector, which led to a rather small and highly fragmented group of organizations, often unable to withdraw a mandate from their members (Bohle and Greskovits 2012; Kohl and Platzer 2004). Sectoral agreements remain exceptional, unstable and fragmented. Slovenia was the exception; Until the amendment of the law in 2005, the compulsory chambers signed collective agreements, thus ensuring a 100% coverage rate for negotiations. Since then, the rate of employer organization, based on voluntary membership, has fallen to about 60 percent, which remains much higher than elsewhere in the region. The scale of the negotiations is an area of contention.

The claims of management and public order almost inevitably conflict with the demands of workers and trade unions on the right to negotiate issues relating to the employment relationship. For example, the length of the academic year may be claimed by the state or management as a matter of exclusively educational policy, but it is considered central to the conditions of employment of staff. The law, state policy, and accepted conventions will all influence how these problems are resolved, and these vary widely. For example, at most public universities in U.S. states that allow bargaining, there are legal restrictions that exclude or limit the right of unions to negotiate issues such as faculty workload, academic year, or course offering. Since the early 1980s, the metallurgical industry has de facto gained the role of wage leader in Austria (Traxler 1998). Whether this will change following the employers` decision in 2012 to leave the joint bargaining platform of the six branches of the metal processing sector and sign separate agreements. So far, it would seem that the six agreements are similar. However, it makes it clear that employers want more differentiation. The magnitude of BC requires separate treatment, as it is more difficult to determine than it appears.

Such coverage is not linked to union membership, as a contract likely covers all workers in a given unit, whether they are members of the union that negotiated it or not. However, in Britain and the United States, it is quite clear who is covered by a collective agreement. In particular, America uses the language of “liberated” and “unde released” employees (introduced by the Fair Labor Standards Act 1938), but the former (general managers and supervisors) are not covered by CB. . . .

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