Social dialogue

Describing social dialogue in the Czech Republic it is necessary to divide it into two groups – institutionalized tripartite social dialogue and bipartite dialogue of social partners, collective bargaining. The collective bargaining is a key instrument used by social partners to negotiate about issues of common interest. This process is fully in hands of social partners in the Czech Republic and there is no institutionalized platform for collective bargaining. On the other hand a tripartite social dialogue is realized by the Council of Economic and Social Agreement, which plays the role of Economic and Social Council in the Czech Republic.

From historical perspective there is a real social dialogue in the Czech Republic for a short time. Before 1989 social dialogue was made on a single platform directed from one political center. The form of a dialogue and collective bargaining was determined strictly by legislation without any alternatives. Only the partial problems such as working conditions and free time activities of workers were discussed. The process of negotiation between social partners could be started after the political changes in 1989.

Creation of appropriate functional structures of the social dialogue was one of the first steps of the democratic government in 1990. Creation of these structures was inspired by different models of the functioning tripartite bodies in western European countries. But it was necessary to take into account Czech reality, in particular quality and structure of representative organizations of social partners. Finally, the consensus upon a suitable system was achieved, a tripartite system was agreed and the Council of Economic and Social Agreement was created in 1990 as a common voluntary conciliation and initiative body of the government, trade unions and employers. The creation of the Council contributed significantly to relatively peaceful economic transformation processes during early 90s.

The key players in the field of bipartite social dialogue are employees´ representatives (trade unions) and employers´ organizations. Tripartite social dialogue represented by the Council of Economic and Social Agreement comprises apart from the above mentioned organizations the government representatives.