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Health and Safety Representation

 

In workplaces where they negotiate with the employer, unions have the right to appoint safety representatives to represent the interests of employees in the area of health and safety. In non-union workplaces the employer decides whether employee representatives for health and safety should be elected, or alternatively whether employees should be consulted directly. Non-union health and safety representatives have fewer powers than those appointed by the union, as they cannot undertake workplace inspections. Union safety representatives, but not non-union ones, can also require the employer to set up a safety committee.

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Trade Unions

There is one trade union confederation in Latvia, the LBAS, and almost all significant unions belong to it. Union density is relatively low, at about 13%, and is much higher in the public than in the private sector.

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Workplace Representation

Employee representation at the workplace is either through unions or through elected workplace representatives. However, with low levels of union membership, particularly in the private sector, and a reluctance among employees to elect workplace representatives, most workplaces have no employee representation at all.

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Collective Bargaining

 

Less than a third (29%) of all employees in the UK are covered by collective bargaining. In the private sector coverage is lower at around a sixth of and the key bargaining level is the company or the workplace. In the public sector, where almost two-thirds of employees are covered, industry level bargaining is more important.

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Financial Participation

The current level of employee financial participation in Italy is one of the lowest in Europe. Although several reforms during the 1990s tried to overcome the main obstacles to a more widespread implementation of financial participation in Italy, the unanimous attitude towards such systems on the trade unions’ side and existing company legislation tend to hinder such developments. Although the plan for a new law on workers’ participation was discussed in Italy in 2011/2012, it has still not been implemented.

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European-level Representation

Latvian representatives on European bodies, both European Works Councils and the European Company are in most cases chosen by the existing employee representatives – either the unions or the authorised workplace representatives.

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Board-level Representation

There is no right to employee board level representation in Italy, and although new legislation proposes this could be introduced, in practice change seems unlikely.

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Financial Participation

The first employee financial participation schemes were not introduced into Great Britain until the end of the 1970s. The Labour Party, employer associates and trade unions were united in their opposition to any form of employee financial participation up till the end of the 1970s. By contrast, the Liberal Party, later followed by the Conservatives, lobbied for profit-sharing and employee share ownership in companies and were finally successful in winning over their erstwhile opponents. Since then a number of different employee financial participation schemes have developed.

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Key Facts

Population2,041,763
Collective Bargaining Coverage 34%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 13%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union – although possible to elect other representatives

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

dualistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

 United Kingdom