KAI KURIE KOLEKTYVINIŲ SUTARČIŲ GALIOJIMO PROBLEMINIAI ASPEKTAI TEISMŲ PRAKTIKOJE
Some problematic aspects of the validity of collective contracts in the juridical practice
After analyzing the provisions of the legislation regulating collective relations, it is clear that a collective agreement is a written agreement between labor unions, employers and their organizations that establishes labor law norms, mutual rights, obligations and responsibilities between parties. The Labor Code of the Republic of Lithuania attributes the normative provisions of a collective agreement to labor law sources. The legal nature of the collective agreement is twofold. A collective agreement could be described as a normative agreement between the employees and the employer. A normative agreement is a special type of legal act, adopted in a contractual manner. The content consists of legal norms, and therefore the collective agreement has both features of the contract and the normative act. This is particularly evident in cases of law when analyzing the grounds for invalidity of a collective agreement.
The Supreme Court noted that the Labour Code (2002) did not regulate the invalidation of a collective agreement and found that the civil law provisions regulating the grounds for invalidity of transactions were applicable when deciding on the conclusion of a collective agreement and its validity, and a collective agreement could be declared null and void in accordance with the provisions of civil law the grounds for non-validity of transactions. This means that, if it is established that the conclusion of a collective agreement is contrary to the imperative rules of the law, it may be declared void ab initio. In practice, the attention was drawn to the fact that when a collective agreement is recognized as void, it does not mean that a previous collective agreement will be recognized as void as well. While assessing the recognition of the terms of a collective agreement as null and void, the court drew particular attention to the application of the principle of fairness, financial possibilities, and the probability of unwarranted expectations in the future.
It should be noted that within Article 4 of the Labour Code 2 d (2016) it is emphasized that the legal norms regulating civil relations and the principles of civil law can be applied to labor relations only if there is a gap in the legal regulation and this is not in conflict with the essence of the legal regulation of labor relations.
However, it has been argued that a dispute over the recognition of a collective agreement is a collective dispute; it is resolved in accordance with the special procedure for the settlement of collective disputes. Meanwhile, disputes between individual employees and the employer regarding the non-implementation or inapplicability of the normative provisions of a collective agreement of a company are resolved by the procedure for the examination of individual labor disputes, emphasizing the implementation of employees' rights in terms of integrity, reasonableness and fairness.
Attention is drawn to the fact that, when adjusting the concept of a collective agreement, a collective agreement, judicial practice should assess the above-mentioned provisions of the present Labour Code (2016) concerning the application and validity of a collective agreement.
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