The success story of the Lithuanian Trade Union SOLIDARUMAS

autorius Jovita

The Lithuanian trade union Solidarumas has signed two agreements with the Ukrainian trade unions regarding the Ukrainian workers in Lithuania.

In order to avoid social dumping and to better protect the rights of Ukrainian workers in Lithuania, on November 4, 2019, the Lithuanian trade union Solidarumas concluded a cooperation agreement with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU). Furthermore, in 2020, the LTU Solidarumas also concluded a cooperation agreement with the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU).

The above mentioned Agreement provides for the promotion of full cooperation between the Lithuanian trade union Solidarumas and the Ukrainian trade unions, a regular exchange of experience in organizing joint conferences, seminars and other events on issues of vital importance to the trade unions and employees of both countries. Among the priorities of the said Agreement is the commitment to include into the day-to-day practice the exchange of delegations at the level of national trade union centers and local organizations as well as to consult, inform and defend the rights of workers coming to Lithuania. The provisions of the Agreement cover the following points:

  1. On an ongoing basis, to keep each other informed about the life of trade unions and the problems of labor relations affecting the situation of workers of both countries; to promote the development of trade union media.
  2. Following the principles of trade union solidarity, to provide mutual assistance and support to each other on a regular basis as well as organize campaigns when necessary to protect the rights of workers and trade unions in both countries, including the rights of migrant workers and their families.
  3. To contribute to strengthening each other’s authority in the international trade union movement using the guidance and support of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its Pan-European Regional Council.
  4. To build the capacity of trade union organizations and national trade union centers; to join hands together in an effort to defend democratic rights and trade union freedoms as well as to foster international trade union solidarity.
  5. To organize and conduct regular monitoring as well as exchange information on the labor market and employment situation in both countries, with a special focus on labor migration issues; to coordinate actions and develop common approaches to prevent the adverse effects of migration processes; to ensure the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of migrant workers and their families in the respective countries by maintaining  regular cooperation; to provide counseling to migrant workers and their families on international and national labor standards; to submit proposals both domestically and internationally for the improvement of working conditions of migrant workers in order to prevent human rights violations in the workplace.
  6. To develop regular communication channels and networks with the aim of curbing informal employment and trafficking in human beings; to hold information campaigns aimed at protecting migrant workers and their families.

The said agreement was concluded for a period of five years and will be automatically renewed for the same period if neither party expresses a wish to terminate it at least 3 months before the end of the agreement. To ensure proper monitoring and controlling of the implementation of the Agreement, bilateral agreements and working protocols, it has been agreed to hold consultations between both parties to the Agreement on an ongoing basis and meet at the level of the leaders of trade union centers at least once a year.

On September 16, 2019, the Baltic Transport Trade Union Solidarumas, which is a member of the Lithuanian Trade Union Solidarumas, signed a sectoral agreement with the Lithuanian National Road Carriers‘ Association LINAVA. The signed collective agreement has established the working, social and economic conditions and guarantees of mobile international road haulage workers (drivers) employed in the companies which are involved in international road haulage activities. During the process of collective bargaining and conclusion of the colelctive agreement, the principles of equivalence and balance of interests of the parties were complied with. The signed Collective Agreement covers the issues of drivers’ insurance, working and rest time, and other guarantees. It also provides for the formation of bilateral councils and commissions.

It should be pointed out that 80 percent of the Baltic Transport Trade Union Solidarumas membership are Ukrainians. In this respect it is important that to state that the above mentioned Agreement has succeeded in reaching the consensus on establishing a bilateral commission to resolve all labor disputes. It has also been agreed that a worker returning from a trip every Friday will be met by the union members. During the long distance road trips, drivers are entitled to the right to call the union and receive from the trade union representatives consultations on relevant issues. Besides, third-country nationals will be paid out a lump sum of EUR 200 by the trade union in the event of the death or birth of a family member.

An extension and supplement to this agreement are currently being negotiated. The trade union will strive to increase the daily allowances of the workers who are union members up to 70%. The employee’s loyalty to the workplace in the same company will also be taken into consideration and rewarded – that is, after having worked for the same company, one month’s additional salary will be paid to the employee per year.

Representatives of the Lithuanian trade union Solidarumas have been actively participating in labor dispute commissions, in which employee disputes are being resolved on an ongoing basis. LTU Solidarumas has also been providing support to employees helping them to file applications with the labor dispute commissions. When necessary, a court claim should be made if the labor dispute commission does not resolve the dispute or makes a decision that is unfavourable for the trade union. The Lithuanian trade union Solidarumas has established active cooperation with the Government on solving the problems of immigrants. Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania is  regularly being informed by the LTU Solidarumas about the problems of immigrants and violations of their rights.

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