20 Years of European Social Dialogue in the Live Performance - An Overview

In general and regardless of the sector, the European social dialogue refers to discussions, consultations, negotiations and joint actions involving organisations representing the two sides of industry (employers and workers).

It takes two main forms:

  • a tripartite dialogue involving the public authorities,
  • a bipartite dialogue between the European employers and trade union organisations. This takes please at cross-industry level and within sectoral social dialogue committees.

At European level there was no sectoral social dialogue until 1998, when the Commission decided on the establishment of sectoral dialogue committees promoting the dialogue between the social partners in the sectors at European level (Commission decision of 20 May 1998 – 98/500/EC).

The sectoral social dialogue committees are established with due regard for the autonomy of the social partners. The social partner organisations must apply jointly to the European Commission in order to take part in a social dialogue at European level. The European organisations representing employers and workers must, when submitting this application, meet a number of criteria:

  • relate to specific sectors or categories, and be organised at European level
  • consist of organisations which are themselves an integral and recognised part of Member State's social partner structures, and have the capacity to negotiate agreements, and which are representative of several Member States
  • have adequate structures to ensure their effective participation in the work of the committees

Each Committee adopts its own rules of procedure, and holds at least one plenary meeting per year, dealing with more specific questions at meetings of enlarged secretariats or restricted working parties. The task of preparing meetings, the agenda and following-up work is most frequently delegated to the respective secretariats of the social partners, together with the Commission.

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20 Years of European Social Dialogue in the Live Performance
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