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European interprofessional social dialogue

One big part of ETUI work on the European interprofessional social dialogue is to provide expert input for the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Secretariat and negotiating delegations in negotiations with the European employers’ organisations BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP.

Researchers of the ETUI have given input to and/or been members of these delegations in the negotiations leading to the Directives incorporating framework agreements on fixed-term work (1999), temporary agency work (failed in 2002) and parental leave (revised, 2010), as well as for so-called autonomous framework agreements on telework (2002), work-related stress (2004), harassment and violence at work (2007), and inclusive labour markets (2010). They have also been involved in other bilateral talks leading to the European social partners’ joint work programmes (2006-2008 and 2009-2010) and other outcomes like the joint statements on the ECJ rulings in Viking, Laval, Rüffert, etc.

A second major area of work is monitoring the implementation of European interprofessional social dialogue outcomes through own research, helping devise tools to facilitate implementation (e.g. ETUC interpretation guides), and providing expertise for ETUC and Commission activities on implementation of the agreements.

Outcomes of the European interprofessional social dialogue:

EU social partners’ joint work programmes

Alongside 1992, when the 1991 Agreement on Social Policy/ Social Protocol was incorporated into the then Maastricht Treaty, another milestone in the European interprofessional social dialogue came in 2002 when the European social partners ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE (then still known as “UNICE”), UEAPME and CEEP concluded their first joint autonomous work programme for the period 2003-2005. This was the first time that the European social partners rather than the European Commission had decided the issues they wanted to work on in their social dialogue, and the instruments they wanted to address them with. Two more work programmes for the periods 2006-2008 and 2009-2010 followed. The latter has been extended to cover 2011, and the plan is to negotiate a new work programme after summer 2011.

ETUI researchers have been involved in the negotiations of all these work programmes, and are closely involved in talks on specific issues identified in them. They are also closely monitoring the implementation of the different activities listed in the work programmes.

The work programmes for 2003-2005, 2006-2008 and 2009-2010 can be found at: http://www.etuc.org/r/656 or http://resourcecentre.etuc.org/Work-programmes-42.html

ETUI publications (pdf - 12.41 Kb)

Inclusive labour markets

After lengthy and heated negotiations, the European social partners concluded their fourth autonomous framework agreement on “inclusive labour markets” on 25 March 2010 under their European Social Dialogue work programmes for 2006-2008 and 2009-2010, and on the basis of their Joint Labour Market Analysis.

As with other agreements, ETUI researchers assisted the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) negotiation delegation/drafting group with expert input during the negotiations.

The ETUC is currently readying a project with Commission funding aimed at helping its member organisations to implement this autonomous agreement. The project will include writing an ETUC interpretation guide (in English, French and German), a conference, specific website section, and more.

ETUI researchers will be helping to draw up the ETUC interpretation guide which will hopefully be out after summer 2011.

Equally, ETUI researchers are involved in amassing information and putting together the first annual implementation table on the agreement which is set for adoption at the Social Dialogue Committee meeting of 16 June 2011.

Publication:
Bir J., and Clauwaert, S. (2010) “European social partners committed to inclusion”, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research November 2010 16: 559-561

Parental leave (revised)

A new milestone in the European social dialogue was reached on 18 June 2009, when after six months and seven rounds of negotiations begun in September 2008, the European social partners signed a framework agreement revising their 1995 Framework Agreement on Parental Leave. This was the first such revision exercise of a pre-existing framework agreement in the history of the European social dialogue. The agreement was turned into Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010.

Here again, ETUI researchers assisted the ETUC negotiation delegation/drafting group with expert input during the negotiations.

The ETUC is currently running a project with Commission funding aimed at helping its member organisations to implement this framework agreement. The project includes writing an ETUC interpretation guide (in 21 languages), a conference, specific website section, and more.

The planned conference was held on 16-17 February 2011 in Brussels, and ETUI researchers gave presentations to it.

They are also helping to draw up the ETUC interpretation guide which is hoped to be out around May 2011, and will be involved in monitoring the concrete implementation of the agreement throughout Europe.

Publication:
Clauwaert, S. (2010) "Towards a revised Parental Leave framework agreement/directive", Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, August 2010 16: 431-435

Contact

Stefan Clauwaert Senior Researcher sclauwae@etui.org

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