Social dialogue and industrial relations
The ETUC conducts industrial relations with the employers at EU level through European social dialogue. The European social partners – workers’ and employers’ representatives – have worked together for many years on EU committees and consultative bodies.
Twenty years ago, in 1985, at Val Duchesse in Brussels, the then European Commission President Jacques Delors formally launched the bipartite European Social Dialogue between the ETUC and employers. The Maastricht Treaty, which came into force in 1993, recognised the social partners’ right to negotiate binding Europe-wide framework agreements, which are either formalised into EU legislation as Directives, or implemented ‘autonomously’ by the partners at European and national levels.
Since 1985, sectoral social dialogue committees have been set up in 35 different industrial sectors. The European social partners have adopted over 40 cross-industry and almost 500 sectoral joint texts. The ETUC also supports the right of workers to know about and influence policy and decision-making in companies operating in more than one EU Member State, for example through European Works Councils and information and consultation procedures.