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Tougher conditions for employers imposed by recent changes to the Law on the social dialogue

Law no. 1/2016 amending and supplementing Law no. 62/2011 on the social dialogue (“Law on the social dialogue”) was published in the Official Gazette no. 26 of 14 January 2016 and entered into force on 17 January 2016.

The most important changes relate to:

  • Establishment of activity sectors;
  • Withholding of union dues by the employer;
  • Association of trade unions and employers or employers’ associations;
  • Representation of parties to collective bargaining.

Establishment of activity sectors

  • The legal provisions contained in art. 1 point r) of the Law on the social dialogue stating that activity sectors comprise fields of activity as defined under the National Classification of Economic Activities were repealed;
  • Activity sectors shall be established by the National Tripartite Council and will be approved through a Government Decision.

Withholding of union dues by the employer

Employers shall be required to withhold and pay union dues to the trade union, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The trade union submits a request to this end;
  • Trade union members express their consent in view of withholding and paying the union dues to the trade union.

Association of trade unions and employers or employers’ associations

  • Trade unions will be able to affiliate, at national level, only to one union federation. Likewise, a union federation will be able to affiliate, at national level, only to one union confederation.
  •  Employers will be able to affiliate, at national level, only to one employer’ federation. Likewise, an employers’ federation will be able to affiliate, at national level, only to one employer’ confederation.

Representation of parties to collective bargaining
New rules concerning the representation of parties to the collective bargaining were adopted, as follows:
– From the part of employers:

  • At branch level and group of companies: collective negotiations shall be undertaken by the legally constituted and representative employers’ associations.

– From the part of employees:

  • At company level: collective negotiations shall be undertaken by the legally constituted and representative trade union. In cases where at company level exists a trade union which, even though is not representative, is affiliated to a representative union federation within the activity sector within which the company is part of, negotiations shall be undertaken by the union federation representatives.
    In companies where no trade unions exist, negotiations shall be undertaken by the elected employees’ representatives.
    Please note that the above mentioned amendments were not correlated with art. 135 Para. (1) of the Law on the social dialogue, which provides that in cases where at company level exists a trade union which, even though is not representative, is affiliated to a representative union federation within the activity sector within which the company is part of, negotiations shall be undertaken by the union federation representatives upon the request and on the basis of the union’s mandate, alongside the elected employees’ representatives.

Implications and recommendations for employers
Withholding of union dues by the employer
Our recommendation is to ensure, prior to withholding and paying union dues to the trade union, that union members expressed their consent in writing to that effect (their express consent being required under the law).

Representation of parties to collective bargaining

  • Limitation of the employers’ possibility of bargaining and concluding collective labour agreements at group of companies’ level in cases where the group of companies is constituted voluntarily.
  • A conflict was created between the various legal provisions regulating the representation of employees to the collective bargaining at the level of companies where no representative unions exist.
  • Our recommendation is to verify whether at company level exist non representative trade unions affiliated to a representative union federation, respectively if employees have elected their representatives, in view of concretely assessing the impact generated by the amendments to the Law on the social dialogue for your company.

Florentina Munteanu
Associate Partner REFF & ASOCIAȚII

Ana-Maria Vlăsceanu
Consultant DELOITTE România

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