Equal opportunities and collective bargaining
An overview of the main findings of the Foundation on mainstreaming equal opportunities through collective bargaining (paper).
Equal opportunities and collective bargaining showing how collective bargaining has been used to improve equality of opportunities for men and women at the workplace.
The Foundation has also developed a database of 30 Equal opportunities and collective bargaining in the related area of pacts for employment and competitiveness.
Note: Details of printed publications can be obtained from the publications catalogue.
This project sought to identify a positive link between collective bargaining and the advancement of equal opportunities. A total of 237 equal opportunities agreements (and over twice this number in terms of clauses of agreements) have been analysed. There is information and expert commentary on what is happening in different Member States, including examples of collective agreements favourable for equal opportunities, and an analysis of the factors influencing such agreements. The project aims to facilitate learning from the experience of others, and to stimulate and inform the thinking of social partners, and others, at European and national level.
Creating a positive link between collective bargaining and equal opportunities could provide enormous benefits, both for equality progress and for the social partners.
- Mainstreaming: collective bargaining can be used to mainstream equal opportunities into industrial relations.
- The flexibility of the bargaining process allows a more specific, “tailored” approach to equal opportunities issues. A tailored approach means the collective agreement is more likely to be acceptable to the bargaining parties.
- This wider agenda brings new relevance into union activities and attracts new members.
- Women’s voice: Women can contribute expertise and particular experience of the variety of women’s concerns and working conditions from "lived experience" which informs negotiations and leads to more effective collective agreements.
- Modernisation of the collective bargaining system through a realisation of the changing face and increased feminisation of the European workforce.
- Economic benefits: more effective use of the female workforce increases competitiveness.