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National Industrial Relations

National industrial relations differ significantly from one European country to another, thereby making harmonisation at EU level extremely difficult. The ongoing internationalisation of business makes the European dimension of social dialogue and cross-border cooperation among worker representatives and their unions more and more important. This section seeks to contribute to better mutual understanding by offering basic information on different key aspects of national industrial relations backgrounds.


Compare Countries

This tool allows you to compare countries, for example with regard to their national systems of trade unions, collective bargaining and workplace representation.

European-level Representation

European representatives from Luxembourg are chosen by the employee delegations. In most cases they must be employees, but this is not the case for the members of an SNB for a European Company, where union officials can also be chosen.

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Key Facts

Population5,573,894
Collective Bargaining Coverage 80%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 67%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry – but much left to company negotiations

Workplace Representation

union

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure

dualistic

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

 France

Health and Safety Representation

Workers’ health and safety representatives represent Maltese employees in the area of health and safety. However, the legislation does not specify how many should be appointed or define their precise powers. They should be chosen by the employees in the first instance but, if the employees do not make a choice, the representatives are appointed by the employer.

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Key Facts

Population3,003,641
Collective Bargaining Coverage 15%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 10%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union – or works council if there is no union

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

monistic or dualistic (choice)

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

Health and Safety Representation

In most companies with at least 50 employees and in some with fewer, employees have the right to elect representatives with health and safety responsibilities to a joint employee/employer health and safety committee. Many of the details of how they work – such as the precise number to be elected or their time-off rights – are left to be agreed between employees and employer in the company or collective agreements.

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Collective Bargaining

The key level for collective bargaining is the company level. There is also protection for those not covered by collective bargaining through a series of wage orders for specific industries that set minimum terms, and a system of partial pay indexation through “cost-of-living” adjustments”.

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