COLBAR - 9 October 2019 - Kick-off Bratislava

The Slovak kick-off meeting of project COLBAR-EUROPE (EUROPE wide analyses of COLlective BARgaining agreements, project No. VS/2019/0077) will be held in Satori Stage (Mickiewiczova 2246/9, Bratislava) on 9 October 2019 (2:00 – 5:00 pm).

The meeting is organized by the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI), a renowned independent research institute focusing on labour markets, working conditions and collective bargaining in the Central and Eastern European region. CELSI is involved in the COLBAR-Europe project with the Wageindicator Foundation and the University of Amsterdam.

There is little systematic information about what is agreed in Collective Agreements in European countries. The project COLBAR-EUROPE aims to mitigate this knowledge gap by several activities, among them kick-off meetings in different regions that bring together researchers, trade unions and employer organizations for formal presentations and informal discussion about the project’s main research questions.

The kick-off meeting in Bratislava will bring together researchers and social partners in order to discuss the current state of and immediate needs for available comparable information on collective bargaining outcomes. In addition, the CELSI team is looking for assistance with the collection of Collective Agreements from Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in manufacturing, construction, commerce and the public sector.



9 October 2019 




Project Introduction

14:00 – 14:20

Project introduction on the WageIndicator database of collective agreements; the largest Collective Agreement data base in the world (Paulien Osse, Wage Indicator director)

14:20 – 14:40

Content of collective agreements in Visegrad countries – analysis and preliminary findings from BARCOM/COLBAR project (Gabor Szudi, CELSI data analyst)

Collective Bargaining in Selected Visegrad Countries

14:40 – 15:00

Collective bargaining in Slovakia – characteristics and trends (Monika Martiskova, CELSI researcher)

15:00 – 15:20

Collective bargaining in Hungary – characteristics and trends (Szilvia Borbely, freelance researcher)

Potential Best Practices from Other Countries

15:20 – 15:40

The Austrian online databank of collective agreements (Paul Schwab, ÖGB-Verlag editor)

15:40 – 16:00

Planned Eurofound project on data on collective agreements (Matthias Rasche, Eurofound data officer)

16:00 – 16:15

Coffee break

16:15 – 16:55

Open discussion on the current state and future needs of available comparable information on collective agreements in the Visegrad region – Moderated by Paulien Osse (WageIndicator director)

16:55 – 17:00

Conclusions, farewell

Event summary

The Central European Labour Studies Institute - with the support of the WageIndicator Foundation - organised the regional kick-off workshop of the COLBAR-EUROPE project in Bratislava on 9 October, 2019. The project COLBAR-EUROPE aims to mitigate this knowledge gap by several activities, among them kick-off meetings in different regions that bring together researchers, trade unions and employer organizations for formal presentations and informal discussion about the project’s main research questions.
The 26 registered participants representing trade unions and employer organisations from all countries of the Visegrad region (Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland) had the chance to get better acquainted with the project and its first preliminary regional results through the introductory presentations of Paulien Osse (WageIndicator Director) and Gabor Szudi (CELSI research analyst). 
The workshop continued with presentations from Monika Martiskova (CELSI researcher) and Szilvia Borbely (freelance researcher) showcasing the current collective bargaining landscape in Slovakia and Hungary respectively. 
The last section of the meeting focused on presenting potential best-case practices linked to the topic of COLBAR-EUROPE: Paul Schwab (editor, OGB Publishing House) showed the technical and content details of the Austrian collective agreeement database, while Matthias Rasche (data officer, Eurofound) talked about the Eurofound's upcoming project regarding collective agreements in the context of minimum wages.
A lively discussion followed the presentations where participants had the chance to ask from presenters and touch upon the many interesting aspects of collective bargaining agreement and their collection and analysis process. 
Participants elaborated on the regional problems facing organisations in handing over collective bargaining agreements within the framework of such projects as COLBAR-EUROPE because these agreements are still not transparently handled in the relevant countries. Since the need for collecting multinational collective agreements were mentioned, the ways and methods of collecting such agreements were talked over, as well as the specific companies the consortium is looking for its database were discussed. 
Data comparability between company, sectoral and multi-company, multinational collective agreements was debated and COLBAR-EUROPE consortium members explained in more detail the data collection and analysis process. In this regard, the respective handling of public and private collective agreements within the database was also mentioned.
The last part of the discussion focused on cooperation opportunities: both consortium members and attendants were eager to go forward in collaborating within the project. At the end of the workshop, participants agreed that local organiser CELSI will send out an e-mail with the request of supporting the research process in COLBAR-EUROPE by potentially submitting individual collective agreements to the consortium. 
In this way, the number of agreements collected and annotated within the database will grow and the respective research can become more substantive.
In addition, a potential collaboration between WageIndicator Foundation and OGB Publishing dealing with Austrian collective agreement database may materialize in the first quarter of 2020.

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