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Sectoral social dialogue

Sectoral social dialogue is a bipartite dialogue within a sector (activity/branch). With a view of improving social dialogue, institutionalization of this form of social dialogue started in 2010, with the establishment of sectoral social councils.

However, the first two sectoral councils were established as tripartite: Social council for the textile, footwear, leather and rubber sector (established on 20 April 2010) and Social council for the sector of forestry and wood industry (established on 6 December 2010), and the agreements on their establishment were signed by trade union confederations and Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) and not by trade unions and relevant employers’ associations. It was only the third sectoral council that was established autonomously by trade unions and employers’ association, along the model of the EU Members States – Social council for road transport. HUP Association of Transport, Trade Union of Transport and Communication of Croatia, Independent Road Trade Union and the Trade Union of Croatian Drivers signed this Agreement on 9 December 2011. Social council for the sector of railway transport was established on 30 May 2012, through the agreement signed by seven trade unions and five companies operating in the field of railway transport in Croatia. On 26 September 2012 the agreement concluded between the Trade Union of Construction Industry of Croatia and the Association of Employers in Construction Industry established the Social council for construction industry. On the same day, the agreement on establishing the Social council for tourism was concluded between the Trade Union of Tourism and Services of Croatia and the Association of Catering and Tourism.

The other form of sectoral social dialogue is collective bargaining. Collective Agreement is a special agreement in the field of labour law which is in writing voluntarily concluded by the employer of employers’ association, i.e. association of employers of a higher level on one side and trade unions or associations of trade unions of a higher level, as workers’ representatives on the other side, and which regulates working conditions and mutual relations of signatory parties. Collective agreement increases the level of material and other workers’ rights (above the minimum which is set by the Labour Code).

According to the data of the then Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, on 22 November 2011 there were 48 registered new collective agreements, out of which four are branch: for security (personal protection), primary school institutions, health care and health insurance, and social welfare. According to their data, on 31 December 2010 there was the total of 153 collective agreements in force. There are no official data for the county level, however it is estimated that there are between 650 and 700 collective agreements on that level.

Currently in Croatia the following branch collective agreements are in force: for public and civil servants, for the employed in primary education institutions, for secondary education institutions, for science and higher education, for health care and health insurance, for social welfare, for state employees, for employees in cultural institutions whose wages are paid from the state budget, for health care in private practice, for security services, for wood and paper industry, for construction, commerce, catering and for travel agencies.

Five collective agreements – for wood and paper industry, construction, commerce and travel agencies – have been extended by minister’s decision, which means they apply to all employees in the activity and are obligatory for all employers. The signatories of those collective agreements are the trade unions affiliated to the UATUC. The decision on the extension of a collective agreement is taken by the minister on the proposal of a party to a collective agreement, and is extended (to persons who did not participate in its conclusion and who have not joined it afterwards) if the impact assessment shows there is a public interest for its extension and if it has been identified that the collective agreement has been concluded by trade unions with majority membership as well as the employers’ association with largest number of employees in the area to which collective agreement is to be extended.

In the activity of agriculture, fisheries, food industry, energy, chemistry and pharmaceutical industry, information and communication, financial activity and security services, as well as in many others, there are no branch collective agreements but only enterprise-level collective agreements. At the same time, in the areas where branch collective agreements have been signed, there are also a number of company collective agreements (e.g. in the construction industry, besides branch collective agreement, there are also 38 company collective agreements in force).