New Labour Code in Lithuania: Issues with a right to strike

Initiation of strikes is a right of trade unions. It is enough, if  ¼ of trade union’ s members support a strike.

After the new Labour Code came into power it is easier to initiate strikes but still there are plenty illogical things. If workers want to strike, required procedures are quite long and complicated. There are just a few situations, when it is allowed to strike: a) if an employer refuses to negotiate a collective agreement or b) refuses to sign a collective agreement. It is not allowed to strike, if that employer simply violates a collective agreement.

Before the beginning of a strike, it has to be established a conciliation commission (representatives of workers and employer). If a problem is not solved, then it can be addressed to a) a mediation commission or b) an arbitrage of a Territoial Labour Inspectorate.

The biggest problem is the following: courts have a right to delay the beginning of a strike and apply so-called temporary protection measures. For example, if it is allowed for workers to strike, an employer has a right to complain and ask a court to apply temporary protection measures until it will be clarified, is that particular strike legal or illegal. That means, that during this time workers cannot strike and it may be delayed for a very long time. (For example, one time the beginning of a strike was delayed for 2.5 years). Sadly, Lithuanian trade unions have noticed that employers abuse this right.

Therefore, trade unions seek to change some amendments of the Civil Code to correct this kind of situation. LPSK aims that it would not be allowed to apply temporary protection measures and strikes could not be delayed on this basis. If Lithuanian trade unions succeed, courts task would be limited to a clarification was a particular strike legal or not (if a strike would be recognized illegal, TU should cover loss for an employer).

There are some restrictions to strike for policemen, firefighters, other statutory officers; those whose work is crucial for a normal life of society have to ensure a minimal level of services (healthcare, electricity, water supply, heat supply, sewerage, civil aviation, telecommunication, railway, city‘s public transport services). It is not allowed to strike for ambulance workers, in natural disasters zones.

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