Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations
Employers’ associations are corporate organisations, which have the status of a legal person based on collectiveness of their members. Such organisations protect employer rights and interests in employment relations. Therefore, they aim at protecting business, financial and economic as well as organisational and functional interests. All employers are entitled to the freedom to form employer associations.
Trade unions, on the other hand, are social organisations, which associate working people. They are a voluntary form of self-organising and operate on the basis of statutorily shaped organisational structures which have a legal personality. Trade unions represent employees and protect their dignity, rights and material and moral interests, both collective and individual ones. They also have a right to represent employees’ interests internationally. Trade unions co-participate in creating advantageous conditions for work, life and rest.
Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
Trade unions ensure that the employer complies and appropriately implements the labour legislation, and have an impact on shaping working conditions. In the scope of individual labour law, the authorisations of the trade unions pertain to issuing opinions on notices to employment contracts concluded for an unlimited term and terminating an employment contract without notice. The trade unions have this entitlement as regards to their members and employees who have turned to trade unions to represent their interests.
Employees’ Representation in Management
Polish labour law does not provide for employees or their representatives to participate in managing the employer’s business. The exception is commercialising state entities in which employees retain the right to elect some members of the supervisory board and the management board.
Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies
In some cases (e.g., within the procedure of collective dismissals), in the event when there is no trade union at a workplace, the employer must conduct consultations with representatives of the employees. Employers with at least 50 employees can establish a work council. It is up to the employees to establish a work council. The rights of the work council are mostly consultative and advisory.