Press release, 19 June 2009

Eurofound co-organises a EU Presidency conference on working conditions and social dialogue in Prague, the Czech Republic, on 22-23 June 2009:

Social dialogue crucial for improving working conditions

(DUBLIN, IRELAND) Social partners and social dialogue have a key role to play in helping to improve working conditions in Europe, according to new research from Eurofound, the Dublin-based EU agency. The research uncovered big differences between countries in their approach, definition of roles of social partners and ultimately results in improving working conditions through social dialogue. The findings will be presented and debated among European social policymakers and experts at an EU Presidency conference in Prague, the Czech Republic, on 22-23 June.

Social partners and social dialogue play a key role in helping to create better jobs and improve the quality of work and working conditions through influencing policy decisions, negotiating social pacts and collective agreements as well as through participating in particular programmes and policies. However, new research from Eurofound has found significant differences in how effective social dialogue is in improving working conditions. It uncovered a broad range of roles, ranging from an approach where social dialogue and collective bargaining is a constituent element of regulating working conditions at the company level and above, to a situation where the exact role of social dialogue is unclear.

The research focused on analysing the situation in Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Austria, and the Czech Republic, addressing the exact role of social dialogue in improving working conditions at the enterprise level, in particular in the construction and health care sectors. It found that social dialogue closest to the shop floor level is most efficient in improving working conditions. Here, trade unions seem to play a very important role, as well as sectoral employer organisations, since they organise and articulate interests of company based actors and vice-versa.

‘One important message arising from our study of sectoral initiatives is that sectoral based social dialogue is a crucial element for improvements in working conditions,’ says Jorma Karppinen, Eurofound’s Director in a comment on the findings of the study.

The conference ‘Working Conditions and Social Dialogue’, an event organised in cooperation with the Czech EU Presidency, is open to representatives from the media. The event will be launched by Michal Sedláček, Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and will gather some 60 European social policymakers and experts. The event starts at 09.30 on Monday 22 June at the Diplomat Hotel (Room Prague A-D), Evropská 15, CZ-160 41 Prague 6.  

More information on Eurofound’s Conference on working conditions and social dialogue is available.

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, Press Officer, at email or telephone +353-1-204 3124 or mobile +353-876-593 507.

Note to the editor
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound – is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policymaking with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research. Eurofound was established by Council Regulation EEC No 1365/75 of 26 May 1975 and is located in Dublin, Ireland.
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