Social Dialogue – Which Benefits for Social Services?

A new Social Employers report aims to showcase the advantages of social dialogue for the social services sector and gather examples and recommendations for setting up such structures.

European social dialogue is crucial for the social services sector to respond to current and future challenges, by giving social partners the opportunity to shape and influence policies and decision-making processes affecting the sector, in both cross-sectoral and sectoral social dialogue.

The report presents current hindering factors for social dialogue, focusing on several central and Eastern European countries, targeted by the DialogueS project, as well as the main needs for their capacity building, such as legislative reforms, increased membership and capacity, and better financial resources.

The report also describes experiences and recommendations on the functioning and setting-up of social dialogue, from national employer’s organisations in countries with well-established structures.

In terms of benefits of social dialogue, the surveyed employers’ organisations point to:

  • Potential to work together towards progress, increase productivity, and employee satisfaction;
  • Development of funds for training, qualifications and skills;
  • Improved occupational safety and health and reduction of absence rates,
  •  Gathering of reliable data through observatories and expert groups.

According to the surveyed employers, the main benefits of EU sectoral social dialogue include:

  • Influence matters concerning the social services sector in the EU;
  • Raise awareness, share experiences, good and innovative practices and solutions;
  • Be consulted by the European Commission on relevant EU policies;
  • Discuss with European Trade Unions and bring common topics and demands to the EU Institutions.

Their main recommendations for setting up sectoral social dialogue at national level:

  • Making demands to be fully recognised by respective governments. If not (yet) possible, seeking affiliation to already established structures, both sectoral and cross-sectoral.
  • Maintaining a balanced relationship, respect the other’s motives and interests, cooperate and make compromises.
  • Negotiating objectives based on facts and research rather than populism or extreme political ideologies.
  • Need for skilled staff and experts that are dedicated to the topic, to be able to represent and defend the employers’ interest

Read the full report, here.