Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations
In Romania, employees’ and employers’ organisations are structured as private associations governed by the Law no. 62/2011 regarding the social dialogue. Every employee has the right granted by the Constitution and by the Romanian Labour Code, to constitute or to become a member of a trade union.
In order to set up a trade union there must be at least 15 employees within the same company. A person cannot be part of more than one trade union organisation within an employer at the same time. Certain categories of personnel, such as public officials, members of the military and members of certain government ministries, are not allowed to establish trade unions.
Employees‘ and employers’ organisations are structured by level: starting from the company level, where there are unions as organisations; sectoral level where there are employers’ organisations and union federations; and the national level where there are employers’ organisations and union confederations.
Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
The representative trade union is entitled to receive from employers, any necessary information for the negotiation of the collective labour agreements and other agreements related to the employment relations. Since a union needs 50%+1 of the company’s employees to be representative, and only a limited number of unions can reach the required number of members in order to become representative, Romanian law also allows union federations that are representative at the sectoral level (representing at least 7% of the employees in the sector) to participate in collective negotiations at the company level, representing an affiliated union. As the law does not restrict the number of unions within a company and in some sectors, there are at least 3 representative union federations, a company might negotiate with more than one union federation.
The trade unions play a key role in collective bargaining, but they also have significant consultation and information rights. Also, based on a specific empowerment from their members, trade unions have the right to register petitions and to sustain their members’ interests before the local courts.
Types of Representation
If there are not any representative unions within the company and the company is one that needs to negotiate a collective employment agreement, employees have to appoint representatives for the negotiation.
Number of Representatives
There are no rules on how many representatives are to be appointed, but Law no. 62/2011 states that the employer and the employees agree on the number of representatives taking into account the number of employees (if the company has a large number of employees that perform various types of activities in different geographical areas, the number of representative will be higher). The common practice is to appoint 1 to 3 representatives.
Appointment of Representatives
There are no clear rules on how the appointment should be made. However it is specified that the representatives have to have the vote of at least 50%+1 employees in the company. Also, in order to ensure the correctness of the appointing procedure the employer should reduce to a minimum the interference in the appointment process. The employees have to find a way to organise themselves in order to appoint the representatives.
Tasks and Obligations of Representatives
The mandate of the representatives is established during the appointment process and it is limited to a maximum of 2 years. The employees give their representatives mandate to participate in the collective negotiation of specific terms. The representatives will participate in the collective negotiations and sign the collective agreement.
Employees’ Representation in Management
The representatives enjoy some of the rights that the representative unions have in gaining access to relevant information and being consulted in specific matters (such as when the employer wants to implement a new internal regulation).
Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies
European legislation on works councils was transposed in Romanian legislation, but few companies actually have such representative bodies. The role of works council in the employer-employee relationship is reduced. Most of the rights that the works councils have involve only receiving information from the company on important matters.
Health and safety committees have an important negotiation role. The employer’s representatives and the employees’ representatives discuss and agree upon health and safety measures, but also on social and economic matters within these structures.