Seminar: Creating more and better employment – A sectoral approach: synopsis of the discussions

Mi, 12/05/2004
Do, 13/05/2004

Foundation Seminar
Creating more and better employment – A sectoral approach
12-13 May 2004


Synopsis of the discussions

The objective of this seminar was to discuss and set in context practical measures aimed at creating more and better employment in two sectors: road freight transport, and hotels and restaurants. It sought to promote debate among EU and national authorities, social partners, as well as practitioners and experts active in the area.

Two recently published Foundation reports formed the background to the seminar. These reports focus on work and employment conditions in the road freight transport and hotels and restaurants sectors. They:

  • provide a snapshot of the sector across the EU, on the basis of national cross-comparisons and EU-level analysis;
  • identify the trends and developments which are shaping the industry;
  • assess the impact of these trends and developments on quality of work and employment;
  • analyse issues of concern for both those working in the sector and policymakers.

Much of the impetus of the Foundation’s work on these two sectors has been drawn from the challenges and objectives of the Lisbon strategy to build and maintain productivity and full employment, quality at work, together with social cohesion and inclusion. The two sectors under scrutiny have the potential for job creation, but are faced with difficulties in maintaining attractive working conditions or improving their image. Recruitment and workforce retention is a habitual problem in these two sectors. Improving quality of work and employment is key for their future.

Creating more and better jobs in the road freight transport sector
Increasing competitiveness and internationalisation as well as technological changes put great pressure on the economic operators in the sector. The workforce also needs to adapt to increasing demands in terms of qualifications and more stressful working conditions ('just in time' delivery, increasing traffic congestion, etc). It is important to make a distinction between transnational/ international transport and domestic transport since socio-economic challenges may differ between these two aspects of road freight transport.

Another challenge in the sector is to adapt to new health and safety, and environmental regulations. This regulatory trend is not necessarily well-perceived. The culture within the sector in general, and among the truck drivers, in particular, needs to be taken into account when addressing questions of unsatisfactory or reluctant implementation of health and safety rules, for instance.

The discussion highlighted the lack of exchanges and information on good practices in the sector, and underlined the importance of quality social dialogue on conditions of work and employment.

Creating more and better jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector
The discussion on the hotel and restaurant sector centred around the need for more self-regulation. In the context of increasing competition, some economic actors in this sector seem to favour ‘social dumping’ practices such as illegal workforce, or violation of labour and health and safety legislation in order to remain competitive. Such unfair practices are detrimental to the sector as a whole, and pose a threat to the economic operators who invest substantial financial resources to promote quality employment. The sector needs to identify leaders and those falling behind in the quality of work area, and to speak with one voice on quality employment issues.

Dicusssions also highlighted the lack of exchanges and information on good practices in the sector, and underlined the importance of quality social dialogue on conditions of work and employment.

Future work
In both sessions, there was common agreement that future Foundation sectoral initiatives could focus on:

  • more sub-sectoral and segmented analysis involving a transversal approach by the following core research teams: Working Conditions, Industrial Relations, and European Monitoring Centre on Change;
  • the organisation of sectoral or sub-sectoral seminars promoting the exchange of experience and information on practices related to quality employment.

The role of the Foundation as a facilitator in the discussions of the sectoral social partners was recognised.

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