Workers are not required to join a union in a given workplace. Nevertheless, most industries, with an average union training of 70%, are subject to a collective agreement. An agreement does not prohibit higher wages and better benefits, but sets a legal minimum, much like a minimum wage. In addition, an agreement on national income policy is often, but not always, reached, bringing together all trade unions, employers` organisations and the Finnish government.  All negotiations that take place between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employer organizations and one or more workers` organizations to determine working conditions and conditions of employment are part of collective bargaining. The scope of collective bargaining covers all workers whose pay and/or conditions of employment are set by one or more collective agreements, including workers covered by agreements because of their extension. Corporate and organizational collective agreements cover virtually the same issues. In the public service, where only sectoral collective agreements are concluded (SK0206102F), the margin for negotiation is somewhat shortened. The Committee for the Extension of the Legal Obligations of Sectoral Collective Agreements to Other Employers (the « Committee ») decides on the renewal of a collective agreement. This committee is set up within the department. Its members are appointed and dismissed by the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family, on the proposal of the Association of Employers` Organisations of the Slovak Republic (Asociécia zamestnévate-skéch zvzov a zdruena, AZZZ SR) and by the Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic (Konfederécia odvéch zvzov, KOZ). Signatories are required to have filed a copy of the agreement and related decisions of the arbitrators for a period of five years after the arbitrator`s expiry.
The relevant union is required to familiarize workers with the content of the agreement within 15 days of the conclusion of the agreement. The collective agreement may be extended to employers who, under similar economic and social conditions, engage in activities similar to those of the employers who have entered into it. The purpose of this extension is to avoid an unfavourable situation for workers of employers who are not members of an employer organization or to prevent a favourable or unfavourable position for employers to whom the collective agreement does not apply. As a general rule, the first stage of collective bargaining – that is, the presentation of negotiating proposals – is undertaken by the unions. This allows the unions to have a more favourable position at the beginning of the negotiations. Under current rules, employers should respond to unions within a specified time frame and, in this regard, make concrete statements and positions on the subjects in question. Employers` responses are sometimes delayed and, in some cases, very brief and do not provide concrete arguments. Whether it is part of the negotiating strategy or for other reasons, this disrupts the negotiation process. Sectoral or sectoral negotiations are common in Slovakia and it is estimated that more than 50% of employees are covered by collective agreements concluded at this level.
Available figures show that the number of sectoral or sectoral collective agreements has gradually increased over the past decade. The total number of sectoral or sectoral collective agreements registered by the department in 1995-2001 is presented in the table below.