ETUC supports collective bargaining in Latvia

The ETUC Executive Committee supports sectorial collective bargaining and autonomy of sectorial social partners in Latvia!

Latvia is one of the countries where coverage of collective bargaining of less than 35% and regarding which the ETUC in spring 2018 has issued an unprecedented ‘emergency alert’ highlighting the threat to achieve decent wages and working conditions for Latvian workers.

In order to strengthen autonomy of sectorial collective bargaining, national social partners in Latvia, trade unions, employers and the government, agreed on an amendment to the Labour Law providing more “space” to the sectorial collective bargaining on one employment related issue – supplementary payment for overtime work which currently is not less than 100 %. The social partners agreed that by a sectoral collective agreement it would be possible to deviate from the overtime payment rate of 100% set in law if all the following conditions are met, namely, the agreement is:

  • universally binding (erga omnes) in the sector;
  • signed by a trade union that is affiliated to the largest confederation of trade unions;
  • provides for a significant raise of minimum wage in the sector, and
  • the supplementary payment for overtime work set by this sectoral agreement is not less than 50 per cent.

The agreed amendment to Labour Law thus aims to create more space for bargaining in the very detailed labour law framework of Latvia while safeguarding workers interests, namely, allowing derogation only in exchange for a significant pay raise for workers and setting “red lines.”

The European social partners in Construction industry (EFBWW and FIEC) on 3 December 2018 addressed Latvian Parliament demanding it to support the mentioned amendment to the Labour Law. The ETUC Executive Committee supports trade unions in Latvia and calls on Latvian legislator to adopt the necessary amendment to the Labour Law that would put sectorial collective bargaining into practice.

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