Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 08:34 GMT

2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Latvia

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 20 November 2008
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Latvia, 20 November 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca83c.html [accessed 17 September 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: 2,300,000
Capital: Riga
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111

Thresholds for forming trade unions are too high, and solidarity strikes are severely restricted. Anti-union behaviour on the shop-floor level increased, and one female shop steward suffered pressure and intimidation from her employer.

Trade union rights in law

Restrictions to the right to organise: The Trade Unions Act of December 1990 stipulates that residents of the Republic shall have the right to form trade unions freely. A union must have at least 50 members or, for enterprise-level unions, at least one forth of employees, which is too high by ILO standards. Trade union membership is prohibited for those employed in State Security Services, and for border guards.

Collective bargaining: The right to bargain collectively is recognised by law, except for special service ranks in the Ministry of Interior and Prison Administration. Workers paid from the state budget can bargain collectively, but financial obligation fixed in their agreements (such as salary rates) may not exceed the amounts provided in the Cabinet of Ministers' regulations.

Solidarity strikes are considered illegal unless the dispute concerns the General Collective Agreement.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Manipulation: The law does not allow concluding collective agreements with trade unions only. The ITUC-affiliated Latvian Trade Union Confederation (LBAS) reports that the employers use this rule to discourage organising, telling workers that it is not necessary to be a trade union member to take advantage of collective agreements.

Anti-union behaviour: More and more companies change their social policies once they find out that workers belong to a trade union. Pressure, mobbing and even dismissals of trade union activists took place during the year.

No access: According to the Labour Law, trade union officials have the right to visit workplaces where their members work. This provision is more often than not violated, with companies putting security guards to keep trade union officials out.

Conflict in Prison Administration: On 19 December a local organisation of the United Trade Union of Policemen (LAPA) was established in the Prison Administration of Latvia. The Chief of the Prison Administration, Visvaldis Pukite, was duly informed in writing. Once LAPA submitted its standpoint on workplace organisation problems and invited the employer to negotiate a joint solution, the management, including Pukite personally, started an anti-union campaign. LAPA members received threats, and the management has spoken of the trade union disrespectfully.

On 28 December the LAPA shop steward, Tatjana Pundure, applied to the Security Police to take measures against the employer's threats. At the time of writing, it became clear that her complaint was returned to be evaluated by Prison Administration itself and that she suffered reprisals.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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