Plant Level Collective Agreements

Finally, there are countries such as the United Kingdom and most of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe where negotiations are predominant at the corporate level, although there are also differences. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, most collective bargaining, although they set their wages and conditions at the enterprise level, remains a considerable number of workers covered by sectoral agreements. In all three countries, these agreements may, in certain circumstances, be extended to companies that are not members of the employers` organisation that signed them. In Bulgaria, the formal structure is at two levels, at the industry and enterprise level, but in practice many agreements at the sectoral level are obsolete and it is agreements at the enterprise level that actually set conditions. In addition to the differences between the duration of collective bargaining and the level at which they take place, there are other differences between the parties to the negotiations, the duration of the agreement and the issues dealt with in the collective agreements. These issues are discussed in the national sections. The developments in Greece and Romania reinforce the fact that collective bargaining is not static. They are also part of the general trend that has been moving towards decentralisation of negotiations at the enterprise level for some time. In Romania, the Social Dialogue Act of 2011, which abolished negotiations at the national level and significantly complicated industrial negotiations, resulted in a reduction in the coverage of collective agreements from 98% in 2011 to 36% a year later. In Sweden and Denmark, most workers are involved in the sector`s activities, but the lower negotiators have considerable leeway. In Sweden, only 10% of all employees had fully set their wages through sectoral collective agreements during the 2013 collective bargaining, while in Denmark, in the largest group of agreements that covered 85% of LO trade union employees in the private sector, wages are set by local enterprise-level agreements. In Finland, where the last two rounds of wage negotiations have returned to national negotiations (see above), there is ample local bargaining space in some sectors. In countries at the bottom half of the table, enterprise-level negotiations are more predominant.

Almost by definition, collective bargaining at the enterprise level depends on union activity at the enterprise level and is therefore more closely linked to the level of union density. In Slovenia, the end of compulsory membership in the Employers` Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Collective Agreements Act 2006, which stipulated that only employers or employers` organizations with voluntary affiliation could sign collective agreements, allowed many employers to opt out of collective bargaining.

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