Within the negotiations for the second work programme of the European social partners it was essential for ETUC to improve the quality of both the social dialogue as such and its instruments and outcomes. This was therefore a non-negotiable demand in this round of negotiations. That is why the guiding principle can be described as a “limited but more qualitative” approach.
This second work programme takes up issues such as:
macroeconomic and labour market policies;
demographic change, active ageing, youth integration, mobility and migration;
lifelong learning, competitiveness, innovation and the integration of disadvantaged groups on the labour market;
balance between flexibility and security;
The negotiations on harassment and violence at work, foreseen in the first work programme, were carried over and finalised in 2006. Some important joint initiatives have been agreed upon to further enhance – with the support of the European Commission – the capacity-building of the social partners in the new Member States and candidate countries.
Two major actions to be implemented are:
joint analysis of the key challenges facing Europe’s labour markets;
a debate on developing a common understanding of the instruments of the social dialogue and their positive potential. This will consist not only of better understanding the “rights and obligations” deriving from each instrument but also of seeking ways to increase the quality and impact of the European social dialogue.
As to the negotiation of an autonomous framework agreement it is envisaged that an agreement be negotiated on the integration of disadvantaged groups on the labour market or on lifelong learning.
EU social partners will undertake joint analysis of the key challenges facing Europe’s labour markets (…)
On that basis: they will (1) decide appropriate joint recommendations to be made to EU and national institutions, (2) define priorities to be included in a framework of action on employment by the social partners, and (3) negotiate an autonomous framework agreement on either the integration of disadvantaged groups on the labour market or lifelong learning. In order to define their respective mandates, they will explore different possibilities.
Negotiation of a voluntary framework agreement on harassment and violence in 2006.
Completion of the national studies on economic and social change in the EU10, enlarge them to cover the EU15 and on that basis promote and assess the orientations for reference on managing change and its social consequences and the joint lessons learned on EWCs.
Continue their work of capacity building for the social dialogue in the new member states, extend it to candidate countries, and examine how the employers and trade union resource centres providing technical assistance to the 10 new member states could provide help to social partners of all EU countries.
Reporting on the implementation of the telework as well as the work-related stress agreements and on the follow up to the framework of action on gender equality.
Telework: (see this subchapter – part on implementation of EU Telework agreement)
Stress at work: (see this subchapter – part on implementation of EU Work-related stress agreement)
Gender equality: presentation and adoption of “1st joint follow up report 2006” (www.etuc.org/r/704) at SDC of 07/11/2006; further specific and general dissemination actions are foreseen.
Based on implementation of the telework and stress agreements and the frameworks of action on the lifelong development of competences and qualifications and on gender equality, further develop their common understanding of these instruments and consider how they can have a positive impact at the various levels of social dialogue.