Union Representation in Embassies?

Union Representation in Embassies?

(A New Collective Bargaining Agreement Concerning Union Representation Was Adopted in Business Sector Committee 337 )

Business sector committee 337 has adopted several collective bargaining agreements in the past months. According to an administrative interpretation, this business sector committee is competent for the local staff of diplomatic missions (if no other, more specific, business sector committee is competent). The most notable collective bargaining agreement for diplomatic missions concerns the introduction of union representation.

On 7 July 2020, business sector committee 337 adopted a collective bargaining agreement creating a right for employees to request union representation in the workplace. A union representation must be allowed if an employer employs a minimum of 15 employees (which will be lowered to 12 as of 2025) and if at least 50% of the employees request the creation of a union representation. The setting up a union delegation entails that a number of employees is elected or appointed to represent the union-affiliated employees with the employer. The specific conditions for the setting up of the union representation and certain modalities of their functioning are defined in the collective bargaining agreement. Important to note is that the members of the union representation enjoy a very strong protection against dismissal.

Business sector committee 337 also adopted a collective bargaining agreement allowing for more flexibility in working time. This is, however, of no relevance for diplomatic missions as the collective bargaining agreement only creates more flexibility for private sector employers and not for public sector employers such as diplomatic missions.

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