Collective Bargaining in the Public Service in the European Union

The ILO’s Sectoral Policies Department (SECTOR) presents a compilation of practices in collective agreements in the public service in the European Union. This selection shows how the principles of Convention No. 151 have been implemented through legislation and/or collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining in the public service is excluded from the fields in which the European Union complements Member State activities, according to Articles 152 and 153(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. For this reason, the practices differ widely from one country to another. The wages are set on the basis of national practices, and the main variance in wage setting is the mechanisms established for decision making.
Twenty-three of the 28 countries use some form of negotiation to determine working conditions and/or wages. Five governments take all decisions in this area unilaterally. Fourteen countries have mixed systems, in which both laws and collective bargaining agreements apply.