Trends and Prospects in 34 Countries
Edited By Craig Phelan
Trade Unions in the Czech Republic 335
MARTIN MYANT Trade Unions in the Czech Republic 1. Strengths and Weaknesses The bulk of Czech trade union members in 2006 were organised within two confederations, the Czech-Moravia Confederation of Trade Unions (eskomoravská konfederace odborovch svaz, MKOS), with 33 affiliated organisations, and the Association of Independent Trade Unions (Asociace samostatnch odbor, ASO), with 15 af- filiates. The former developed from the transformation of the official unions of the communist period, inheriting substantial property and a mass membership base. It aimed to follow the examples of some western European unions, focusing on collective bargaining in workplaces, national representation through tripartite structures and avoiding exclusive links to any political party. The ASO was formed in 1995, growing by affiliation of unions dissatisfied in very diverse ways with the dominant confederation. There are also a number of smaller, independent unions representing specific groups of em- ployees. Membership declined rapidly after 1989. Figures for the MKOS reveal a fall from 4.3 million in 1990 to 1.7 million in mid 1997 and 610,000 in 2006. ASO membership was probably under 200,000. Union density therefore fell from 80 to 33 per cent of the labour force by 1997 and then to under 20 per cent by 2006. Overall, Czech unions fell from a position close to the highest in western Europe to one significantly below the average. Bargaining coverage shows a less dramatic decline. Estimates from MKOS-affiliated unions suggest a drop from 37 per cent of the economically active to 33 per cent between...
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