New Czech Labour Code Amendment: Changes to Collective Bargaining

Czech Republic
Available languages: CZ

From 1 July 2024, a new amendment to the Czech Labour Code amendment will come into force, which will, among other things, introduce new rules for collective bargaining for employers with more than one active trade union.

Currently, if more than one trade union is operating at an employer, each trade union must be in agreement in the collective bargaining process. Each trade union can object and refuse to conclude a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), thus effectively blocking the collective bargaining. Employers can use this rule to their advantage and ask the most loyal employees (just three is sufficient) to set up their own pro-employer trade union, which will ultimately act in the employer’s favour and block negotiations on the union side. If the trade unions do not act in concert, no CBA will be concluded.

This will change on 1 July 2024. The new amendment to the Labour Code sets out strict rules for collective bargaining when there is more than one trade union active at the employer. If there is no agreement among the trade unions within 30 days from the beginning of negotiations, the trade union with the highest number of employees will be entitled to enter into the CBA with the employer on behalf of all employees. However, if the majority of employees do not agree with this, they will be able to veto this procedure and propose another union to enter into the CBA. This will ensure that the CBA will reflect the will of the majority of employees. The trade unions that are not directly negotiating the CBA will have the right to be consulted about the final proposal of the CBA. Another innovation is that the CBA will be able to be concluded electronically (which is not possible today).

On the other hand, trade unions will lose their influence on vacation planning, as the employer will no longer be obliged to prepare a written vacation schedule with the union’s prior consent.

In addition to adjusting relations with the trade unions, the amendment to the Labour Code will also cancel “guaranteed salaries” in the private sector, which ensured minimum salary levels for specific professions. There will no longer be guaranteed salary thresholds, and employers will have more discretion regarding employee salaries. Guaranteed salaries will only be retained in the public sector. However, employers will still be obliged to pay at least the minimum salary.

If you need assistance with CBA negotiations or any other employment issue, do not hesitate to contact your local CMS employment experts.