Employee representation in workplace co-operation
The parties to co-operation are the employer and the employees, as represented by a shop steward, safety representative, employee representative or other staff representative, or by an individual employee elected for the purpose, depending on the issue to be negotiated.
The employees of a business employing more than 150 people are entitled to send a representative to serve within its administration. This representative may serve by agreement on such bodies as the Supervisory Board, Board of Directors, Board of Management or Management Group of the enterprise.
At least one and no more than four staff representatives may be appointed, together with their deputies.
A staff representative is entitled to study materials concerning the business of a meeting in advance, and may take part in all business concerning the development of enterprise operations, measures to improve co-operation between the enterprise and its staff and to enlarge the influence of employees, the business operations and finances of the enterprise, and the status of its staff.
Staff representatives may not take part in appointing the management of the enterprise, in determining terms and conditions of employment, or in considering the terms of employment of staff. A staff representative is bound by confidentiality provisions.
A staff fund may be established for an enterprise with at least ten regular employees.
The purpose of a staff fund is to make the employees more interested in developing the enterprise and to boost motivation at work. All employees of the enterprise will be automatically enrolled in the fund.
The fund accumulates assets through the enterprise profit bonus scheme. Fund members are entitled to cash in their entire stakes in the fund at the end of their employment. A staff fund may also be set up for a national government agency or agency operating unit.
The organised employees at a workplace elect a fellow union member to represent them as their shop steward.
Shop stewards are elected on the basis of the collective agreement for the sector. They serve as local negotiators, conciliators and channels of communication between the employer and the employees in various bargaining situations. Collective agreements include detailed provisions on training and time set aside for shop steward duties.
Employees with no shop steward under a collective agreement may instead elect a representative at their workplace. This situation arises when there is no collective agreement for a workplace or when the collective agreement includes no provisions on a shop steward.