Collective Labour Dispute Resolution Act

Link to law: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/Riigikogu/act/511112014002/consolide
Published: 2015-01-01

Collective Labour Dispute Resolution Act

Passed 05.05.1993
RT I 1993, 26, 442
Entry into force 07.06.1993
Amended by the following legal instruments (show)

Passed
Published
Entry into force

20.12.1995
RT I 1996, 3, 57
01.09.1996

02.06.1998
RT I 1998, 57, 858
06.07.1998

19.06.2002
RT I 2002, 63, 387
01.09.2002

17.12.2008
RT I 2009, 5, 35
01.07.2009

20.05.2010
RT I 2010, 29, 151
20.06.2010

13.06.2012
RT I, 06.07.2012, 1
01.04.2013

28.02.2013
RT I, 20.03.2013, 1
01.04.2013

19.06.2014
RT I, 12.07.2014, 1
01.01.2015

Chapter I GENERAL PROVISIONS  

§ 1.  Purpose of Act

This Act regulates the procedure for the resolution of collective labour disputes and the calling and organisation of strikes and lock-outs.

§ 2.  Definitions

(1) A collective labour dispute is a disagreement between an employer or an association or a federation of employers and employees or an association or a federation of employees which arises upon the entry into or the performance of collective agreements or the establishment of new working conditions.
(2) A strike is an interruption of work on the initiative of employees or an association or a federation of employees in order to achieve concessions from an employer or an association or a federation of employers to lawful demands in labour matters.
(3) A lock-out is an interruption of work on the initiative of an employer or an association or a federation of employers in order to achieve concessions from employees or an association or a federation of employees to lawful demands in labour matters.

§ 3.  Parties to collective labour dispute

(1) The parties to a collective labour dispute are an employer or an association or a federation of employers and employees or an association or a federation of employees.
(2) Employees or an association or a federation of employees are represented by the person authorised thereby (hereinafter representative of employees).
(3) An employer or an association or a federation of employers is represented by the person authorised thereby (hereinafter employer).

§ 4.  Submission of demands of employees and employers

Demands of employees and employers shall be submitted to the other party in writing.

§ 5.  Hearing of demands

(1) Employers and representatives of employees are required to hear submitted demands within seven calendar days after the date of their submission and to notify the persons who submitted the demands of their decision in writing on the date following the date of the decision.
(2) Representatives of the party which submitted demands may be invited to participate in the hearing of the demands, and they may be required to submit documents necessary for the substantive resolution of the matter.

§ 6.  Notice of labour dispute

The parties shall consult the Public Conciliator in writing if an agreement is not reached through negotiations and a threat of a disruption of work arises.

§ 7.  Resolution of labour disputes by federations of employers and federations of employees

(1) Failing agreement in the event of collective labour disputes, the employer and the representative of the employees have the right of recourse to a federation of employers and a federation of employees.
[RT I 2009, 5, 35 – entry into force 01.07.2009]
(2) A federation of employers and a federation of employees shall, within three days after the date following the receipt of an application, establish a committee on the basis of parity for the resolution of a labour dispute and notify the Public Conciliator thereof.
(3) An agreement reached by a federation of employers and a federation of employees is binding on the parties to the dispute.

Chapter II CONCILIATION  

§ 8.  Conciliator

(1) Conciliators are impartial experts who help the parties to labour disputes reach mutually satisfactory resolutions.
(2) Conciliators are the Public Conciliator and local conciliators. The statutes of offices of conciliators are approved by the Government of the Republic.
(3) The Public Conciliator is appointed to office for a term of three years by the Government of the Republic on the basis of a joint agreement of the Ministry of Social Affairs and confederations of employers and confederations of employees.
(31) The provisions of the Civil Service Act concerning officials apply to the Public Conciliator in so far as not otherwise provided by this Act.
[RT I, 06.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
(4) The Public Conciliator appoints a local conciliator for resolving a labour dispute in prior co-ordination with the local government, or the Public Conciliator processes the dispute. Labour disputes between federations of employers and federations of employees are resolved by the Public Conciliator.
(5) Upon the release of a local conciliator from the duties of his or her principal job for the period of performance of the duties of a conciliator, he or she is compensated for unreceived wages pursuant to the procedure prescribed by law.
[RT I 1998, 57, 858 – entry into force 06.07.1998]

§ 9.  Duty of conciliator

The duty of a conciliator is to effect conciliation of the parties. A conciliator shall identify the reasons for and the circumstances of a labour dispute and propose resolutions.

§ 10.  Rights of conciliators

(1) Conciliators have the right to invite the parties to participate in conciliation proceedings.
(2) Conciliators have the right to engage in their work qualified persons or experts and competent officials who are compensated for unreceived wages pursuant to the procedure prescribed by law upon their release from the duties of their principal jobs.

§ 11.  Conciliation of parties

(1) Conciliation is effected by the medium of a conciliator or on the basis of a proposal made by a conciliator. The parties shall reply to the proposal of a conciliator within three days.
(2) Parties are required to participate in conciliation proceedings, send their fully authorised representatives to participate in conciliation proceedings and submit documents necessary for the substantive resolution of the matter by the date specified by the conciliator.
(3) Conciliation is documented by a report, which shall be signed by the representatives of the parties and the conciliator. A report shall also be prepared if no agreement is reached.
(4) A conciliation contained in a signed report is binding on the parties and enters into force upon signature, unless a different date is agreed on.
(5) A conciliator and the participants in the resolution of a labour dispute shall maintain the confidentiality of any industrial, business or professional secrets which become known to them during the conciliation proceedings.

§ 12.  Resolution of labour disputes at court

(1) Failing agreement between a federation of employers and a federation of employees in a dispute arising from the performance of a collective agreement, the federations have the right of recourse to a labour dispute committee or the court for the resolution of the dispute.
(2) The organisation of strikes or lock-outs is prohibited as of the date of recourse to a labour dispute committee or the court.

§ 13.  Creation of right to strike or lock out

(1) The right of employees or associations or federations of employees to organise a strike and the right of employers or associations or federations of employers to lock out employees to resolve a labour dispute arises only if there is no prohibition against disruption of work in force, if conciliation procedures prescribed in this Act have been conducted but no conciliation has been achieved, if an agreement is not complied with, or if a court judgment is not executed.
(2) In the case of a strike or a lock-out, the parties are required to resume negotiations in order to reach an agreement in the collective labour dispute.

Chapter III STRIKES AND LOCK-OUTS  

§ 14.  Decision-making

(1) A decision to organise a strike is made by the general meeting of employees or an association or a federation of employees.
(2) A decision to organise a lock-out is made by an employer.

§ 15.  Advance notice of strike or lock-out

(1) Organisers of a strike or a lock-out are required to notify the other party, a conciliator and the local government of a planned strike or lock-out in writing at least two weeks in advance. The notice shall set out the reasons, exact time of commencement and possible scope of the strike or lock-out.
(2) An employer is required to inform of a strike or a lock-out its contracting partners, other interested enterprises or institutions and, through the media, also the public.

§ 16.  Direction of strike

(1) A strike is directed by a person or persons (strike leader) authorised by the general meeting of employees or the association or federation of employees which makes the decision to organise a strike.
(2) A strike leader shall act within the limits prescribed by international legislation binding on the Republic of Estonia, Acts and other legislation of Estonia and resolutions of the general meeting of employees or an association or a federation of employees authorising the strike leader, represent the interests of those who authorised the strike leader during a strike, and inform the public through the media about the course of the resolution of the collective labour dispute. Such authority terminates if the parties sign a conciliation (agreement) on the manner of regulation of the labour dispute, if the strike is declared unlawful by a court, or on the basis of a decision of the bodies authorising the strike leader.
(3) In the exercise of the authority of a strike leader, a strike leader does not have the right to adopt decisions which are within the competence of state bodies, governmental authorities or other organisations or the other party to the labour dispute.
(4) A strike leader is required to apply measures to preserve the assets of the other party and to maintain the rule of law and public order, and is liable for violations of law and damage caused by a strike.

§ 17.  Direction of lock-out

A lock-out is directed pursuant to the procedure determined by the employer.

§ 18.  Warning and sympathy strikes

(1) Employees and their associations or federations have the right to organise warning strikes with the duration of up to one hour.
(2) Sympathy strikes are permitted in support of employees engaging in a strike. The duration of such strikes shall be decided by the representative, association or federation of the employees who makes the decision to organise the strike. A sympathy strike shall not last longer than three days.
(3) The representative, an association or a federation of employees is required to notify the employer, association or federation of employers and the local government of a planned warning or sympathy strike in writing at least three days in advance.

§ 19.  Postponement or suspension of strike or lock-out

(1) The commencement of a strike or a lock-out may be postponed once: by one month by the Government of the Republic on the proposal of the Public Conciliator, or by two weeks by the city or county government on the proposal of the local conciliator.
(2) The Government of the Republic has the right to suspend a strike or a lock-out in the case of a natural disaster or catastrophe, in order to prevent the spread of an infectious disease or in a state of emergency.

§ 20.  Freedom to participate in strike

(1) Participation in a strike is voluntary. It is prohibited to impede the performance of work by employees who do not participate in a strike.
(2) It is prohibited for individuals who are not employed by an enterprise, institution or other organisation where a labour dispute arises or who do not represent the employees pursuant to the procedure prescribed by law to instigate a strike.

§ 21.  Restrictions on right to organise strike

(1) Strikes are prohibited:
1) in governmental authorities and other state bodies and local governments;
2) in the Defence League, courts, and rescue service agencies.
[RT I, 20.03.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
(11) Subsection (1) of this section is not applied to persons who are employed under an employment contract in an institution or organisation specified in that subsection, except for rescue workers employed under an employment contract in a rescue service agency and persons employed under an employment contract in the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Resources Agency, the Defence Forces or the Defence League.
[RT I, 20.03.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
(2) Institutions and other organisations specified in subsection (1) of this section shall resolve collective labour disputes by negotiations, by the medium of the Public Conciliator or in court.
(3) In enterprises and institutions which satisfy the primary needs of the population and economy, the body which calls a strike or locks out employees shall ensure indispensable services or production which shall be determined by agreement of the parties. In the case of disagreements, indispensable services or production shall be determined by the Public Conciliator whose decision is binding on the parties.
(4) A list of enterprises and institutions which satisfy the primary needs of the population and economy shall be established by the Government of the Republic.

§ 22.  Unlawful strikes and lock-outs

(1) Strikes or lock-outs for the purpose of affecting the activities of courts are unlawful.
(2) Strikes or lock-outs which are not preceded by negotiations and conciliation proceedings are unlawful.
(3) Strikes or lock-outs which are called or organised in violation of the procedure established by this Act are unlawful.
[RT I 2009, 5, 35 – entry into force 01.07.2009]

§ 23.  Declaration of strikes or lock-outs as unlawful

(1) A decision to declare a strike or a lock-out unlawful is made by the court.
(2) The court shall communicate its decision to the parties to the labour dispute and through the media to the public.

Chapter III1LIABILITY  
[RT I 2002, 63, 387 - entry into force 01.09.2002]

§ 231.  Hindering hearing of collective labour disputes

Hindering the hearing of collective labour disputes, refusing to submit documents or data necessary for the hearing of collective labour disputes or non-submission thereof, or failure to attend conciliation proceedings at the time specified by the Public Conciliator or a local conciliator
is punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units.

§ 232.  Resuming strike or lock-out declared unlawful or suspended

Resuming a strike or a lock-out declared unlawful or suspended, and commencing or resuming a postponed strike or lock-out before the specified time
is punishable by a fine of up to 200 fine units or by detention.

§ 233.  Organisation of resumption of strike or lock-out declared unlawful or suspended or postponed

Organisation of the commencement or resumption of a strike or a lock-out declared unlawful or suspended or postponed before the specified time
is punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units or by detention.

§ 234.  Proceedings

(1) [Repealed – RT I, 12.07.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]
(2) The extra-judicial body conducting proceedings in matters of misdemeanours provided for in this section is the Labour Inspectorate.

Chapter IV FINAL PROVISIONS  

§ 24.  Rights and liability of participants in strikes and organisers of lock-outs

(1) Participation in a strike shall not be considered a violation of the relevant employment contract or result in the liability of the employee, unless the employee is the organiser of a strike which has been declared unlawful by the court.
[RT I 2009, 5, 35 – entry into force 01.07.2009]
(2) [Repealed – RT I 2002, 63, 387 – entry into force 01.09.2002]
(3) It is prohibited to terminate the employment contracts of participants in lawful strikes on the initiative of the employer during a strike.

§ 25.  Remuneration during strike or lock-out

(1) Employees are not paid wages for the period of a strike or a lock-out.
(2) An employee who does not participate in a strike but who cannot perform his or her work by reason of the strike shall be remunerated by the employer on the same bases as for the period of work stoppages which are not the fault of the employee or to the extent prescribed by a collective agreement.
(3) An employee who cannot perform his or her work by reason of a lock-out which has been declared unlawful shall be deemed to be unlawfully suspended from work, and he or she shall be paid average wages for the period of the lock-out.
(4) Upon the full or partial satisfaction of the demands of employees or an association or a federation of employees, the employer shall pay compensation in an amount agreed upon by the parties to the employees or the association or federation of employees who called the strike.

§ 26.  [Repealed – RT I 2002, 63, 387 – entry into force 01.09.2002]

§ 27.  Covering of expenses

Expenses relating to the resolution of a collective labour dispute are covered by the party at fault or divided between the parties by agreement.

§ 28.  Making up for time lost by reason of strike

By agreement of the parties to a collective labour dispute, participants in a strike may make up for the time lost by reason of the strike outside working time. The time spent making up for the time lost by reason of a strike shall not be deemed to be overtime or work on days off or public holidays.
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