Workers' participation in Czechia and Slovakia
This paper reviews the formation of worker participation and its current regulation and practice in Czechia and Slovakia. The formation of worker participation in these countries is traced back to the legacies of state socialism prior to 1989, economic transformations in the 1990s as well as EU accession and the implementation of the EU Directive on Information and Consultation of Employees after 2002. The paper shows that worker participation in Czechia and Slovakia is firmly institutionalized and embedded in both countries’ legal systems. Trade unions are the most important organizations representing workers’ interests, whereas the relevance of works councils and other participation forms remains marginal. However, the actual practice of worker representation and participation is declining due to decreasing union and employer densities and bargaining decentralization; and due to the strong dependence of employment relations in Czechia and Slovakia on labour legislation. To maintain a strong role of worker participation at the plant level, it is essential to overcome power struggles between trade unions and works councils and develop direct initiatives facilitating workplace democracy.