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Collective labor disputes

Collective labor disputes

What are collective labor disputes ?

The law defines the labor dispute as a dispute between the employees and the employers regarding economic, professional and social interest or the rights resulting from the performance of the employment or labor relations.

Labor disputes can be:

  • collective labor disputes – labor disputes occurring between employees and employers, which have the object the commencement, performance or termination of negotiations regarding collective employment contracts or arrangements;
  • individual labor disputes – labor disputes which have the object the performance of rights or the fulfillment of obligations which result from individual or collective employment contracts or from the collective employment arrangements and the work relations of civil servants, as well as from laws or other legislative documents.

The employees’ right to start collective labor disputes regarding the commencement, performance or termination of the negotiation of collective employment contracts is guaranteed by the law. Collective labor disputes may take place to defend the collective interest of an economic, professional or social nature.

In the case of collective labor disputes, the employees are represented by representative trade unions or the employees’ representatives, as the case may be, who participate in the negotiation of the collective contract or the applicable collective labor agreement.

When collective labor disputes may be started?

According to the law, collective labor disputes may be started in the following situations :

  • the employer or the employers’ organization refuses to start negotiating a collective employment contract or agreement, if it did not already conclude such a contract or agreement or if the previous one has terminated;
  • the employer or the employers’ organization does not accept the claims stated by the employees;
  • the parties do not reach an understanding regarding the conclusion of a collective employment contract or agreement up until the mutually established date for ending the negotiations.

The employees cannot start a collective labor agreement during the validity period of a collective employment contract or agreement.

What is a strike?

A strike is defined as any form or collective and voluntary form of ceasing work in a unit.

Strike may be declared only after the possibilities of settling the collective labor dispute were previously exhausted through the compulsory procedures stipulated by the law, only after a warning strike took place and if the moment of declaring stroke was communicated to the employers by the organizers with at least two business days in advance.

The decision to declare strike is made by the representative trade unions which participate in the collective labor dispute, with the written agreement of at least half of the members of the respective syndicates. For the employees of units which do not have representative syndicates, the decision to declare strike is made by the employees’ representatives, with the written agreement of at least a quarter of the employees of the unit or, as the case may be, the subunit or department.

How many types of strike are there ?

There are three types of strike: warning strikes, solidarity strikes and actual strikes.

Warning strikes cannot last more than two hours if there is a cessation of work involved and must precede an actual strike with at least two business days, in all cases. Solidarity strikes can be declared in order to support the claims issued by the employees in other units belonging to the same group of units or activity sector. A solidarity strike cannot last more than one business day and must be notified in writing to the management of the unit with at least two business days in advance of the date of ceasing work.