Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 08:39 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Lithuania

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Lithuania, 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea661fbc.html [accessed 27 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 3,300,000
Capital: Vilnius
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

2010 was dominated by the state of the economy. Temporary changes were made to the labour code to aid recovery. As a result the issue of trade union rights remained in the background but concerns remain, especially over the right to strike.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW

Despite recent amendments to the Labour Code, a number of restrictions to trade union rights still apply. The law recognises the right to form and join trade unions, but at least 30 members or one-fifth of the total workforce is required to create a union. Workers who are dismissed cannot keep their trade union membership. The right to collective bargaining is secured in both the private and the public sector, except for certain government employees.

The right to strike is rather limited: strikes are only possible if all dispute resolution procedures have been exhausted and can only be called in connection with collective disputes. Solidarity strikes and sympathy strikes are thus not covered. Furthermore, employers have the right to employ other persons to perform the work of striking workers in certain sectors, including public transport and waste disposal. The authorities can decide on the minimum service to be established during a strike if the parties fail to reach an agreement.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010

Background: Lithuania has been through an extraordinarily difficult period as a result of the the economic crisis. GDP declined by 14.7% in 2009, a stagnant 0.4% growth rate was forecast for 2010, whilst unemployment at the end of the 3rd quarter was more than 18% of the labour force. The social partners acted in solidarity with the government during this time and negotiated amendments to the country's labour code, including the lowering of some minimum standards in collective agreements. This agreement expired at the end of 2010.

Ineffective legal protection: The judicial system is slow in dealing with unfair dismissal cases. There are no labour courts or judges specialised in labour disputes. Furthermore, the trade union organiser has to prove that s/he was dismissed due to trade union activities, which is impossible in most cases.

Issue of trade union rights eclipsed by economy: As a result of the severe economic climate, attention in 2010 was focused on the wider issues of the economy, growth and jobs. Changes were made to the country's labour code with the backing of the trade unions in order to aid recovery. However, the unions also raised concerns over trade union rights: Debates took place on trade union law and representations were made by the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK) to international organisations, with particular concerns relating to the right to strike and the inherent difficulties in the procedures to call for strike action.

Violations of collective agreements at the Kusiju Nerija National Park: Several violations of collective agreements have been reported at the Directorate of the Kursiju Nerija (Curonian Spit) National Park, including changing the place of work from Klaipeda to Nida (50km away) without consultation. In addition pressure has been exerted on the chairperson of the national park's trade union branch.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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