The basic protection for union activities is provided by the provisions in the Co-determination Act concerning the right of association (see above). The right of association applies generally to all employees.
The Act on the Position of Trade Union Representatives at the Workplace regulates only the position of trade union representatives. The law applies to employees who have been appointed by the local union organizations bound by collective bargaining agreements to represent the employees at their workplace in union activities which affect their relations with the employer. It should in this context be noted that the concept of union activities is extremely wide-ranging. The local union branch is in principle free to decide how many representatives are to be appointed at a workplace.
Union representatives may not be prevented from performing their union work and may not be given less beneficial terms and conditions of employment on account of their union activities. Needless to say, the representatives may not be discriminated against.
A union representative is entitled to such leave as is necessary for the performance of his/her union duties. This leave may not, however, be more extensive than is reasonable in view of the conditions of the workplace and may not be taken at a time which may seriously impede the performance of normal work. How much leave and when leave may be taken shall be decided after discussions with the employer. A union representative is entitled to unchanged salary and other benefits during leave for union activities relating to his/her own workplace.
The union normally has a interpretive precedence in case of a dispute between the employer and the union concerning the application or interpretation of the act, i.e. the union’s view shall prevail until the dispute has been resolved.