Our recommendations – Industrial relations in Europe

Confrontations Europe

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The changes ensuing from the digitalisation of the economy and the energy transition are going to have a massive impact on social practices. They are just one aspect of the large-scale changes underway in our societies, which manifest in the crises that have hit Europe serving to fragment it even more. Social dialogue and social protection systems are powerful cultural markers for Europe, which are threatened by these changes, and yet the changes also offer opportunities for dynamic reinvention. Transforming social dialogue in Europe into the preferred method of creating opportunities out of the transition seems ambitious. Social stakeholders have to get to grips with this and the Commission must offer the appropriate incentives for doing so.

  • Drafting and trialling a European framework for participation in its different dimensions (governance, labour collectives, financial, etc.) of company workers and trialling methods of participation for younger workers
  • Improving the understanding of the economic and social challenges brought about by these changes
    • Setting up forums (example: digital) bringing together parliaments, Commission and social partners to promote a shared approach and coordinated efforts
    • Systematically involve the social partners (European, sectoral, national, through an incentive framework) upstream of public policy consultations (general, sectoral) and at every step of the European Semester for policy coordination.
    • Work on the practical implementation of the concept of “just transition”.
  • Reinforce stakeholders’ capacities in diagnostics, negotiations, monitoring and evaluation at all levels (European, national, sectoral…)
    • In the countries where it is most difficult/the least developed, opt for projects (European Commission and social partners) which are aimed at developing social dialogue
    • Trial forms of dialogue that include representatives of new types of employment and new types of workers to adapt or create new forms of social protection and plan for monitoring-evaluation at European level
  • The territory, a key level for intersectoral mobility resulting from these developments
  • European works councils: launch an experimental framework that allows for genuine subsidiarity and clarifies the roles between European/national bodies. It is important to ensure that what is tackled together at European level is not repeated at national level (implementation).
  • European sectoral dialogue committees: establish a systematic link between the DGs of the Commission (DG Growth, DG Connect…) and the Committees to build on their existing work (forums, common positions, agreements…) and build the industrial sectoral dimensions and social dimensions of the internal market; these market dimensions are not yet in place
  • European and national tripartite social dialogue must grasp the problems of competitiveness and participation in the labour market when targeting a macroeconomic diagnosis and shared reform content and defining an industrial competitiveness strategy for the EU
  • Make the overhauling of training systems a priority involving the social partners in order to respond to the needs of the energy and digital transitions
    • Launch a mass/common requalification programme for the workers most heavily affected by the developments and regular updating of skills

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