Programme agreement signed for the Social Dialogue - Decent Work programme

The programme implementation agreement for the Social Dialogue - Decent Work programme was signed on 22 June 2018.

7655_261119711_CVE-20160614-EEAGrantsBG-564-2

Key information about the programme

  • The programme is operated by: The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO)
  • The fund operator in this programme is: Innovation Norway
  • The programme's objective is: Strengthened tripartite cooperation between employer organisations, trade unions and public authorities and the promotion of decent work
  • The programme funding (excluding co-financing) amounts to 16 million Euros and is funded through the Norway Grants only

Why is the programme needed?

In many beneficiary states the social dialogue between trade unions, employers’ associations and the government is not used in an effective way to promote social and economic policy, better working and living conditions and social justice.

A well-functioning social dialogue at national level is also important for the social dialogue at European level and for strengthening the social dimension of the European Union as underlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The formal social dialogue structures at national level may be working but there are weaknesses at regional and local level; structures exist but there is lack of proactive social dialogue; social partners have little decision-making power; few employees are members of trade unions; there is lack of mutual trust and tradition for building consensus; there are disproportionate power relations between employers and employees; and the legal framework for social dialogue is insufficient. There is a lack of capacity and resources both among trade unions and employers’ associations which is reflected in inadequate mechanisms and competence for bipartite and tripartite consultations. Collective bargaining is mostly limited to certain sectors and to the enterprise level.

Work-life balance has not been on many beneficiary states’ agenda because of limited awareness of rights and obligations, unclear responsibilities, or negative attitudes from employers on the need for reconciling work and private/family life. Also gender equality issues, such as unequal opportunities and salaries play a role.

Furthermore, health and safety concerns are often ignored or conducted via limited inspections and low-scale enforcement of legislation. Work-related crime can be observed in the exploitation of workers and use of unregistered workers.

Beneficiary states may be unprepared for changes in the working environment and in the labour market like digitalization and the transition to a low-carbon economy. They also experience a mismatch between the skills of the labour force and the needs of employers and low participation of disadvantaged groups in the labour market.

In many beneficiary states the social dialogue between trade unions, employers’ associations and the government is not used in an effective way to promote social and economic policy, better working and living conditions and social justice.

A well-functioning social dialogue at national level is also important for the social dialogue at European level and for strengthening the social dimension of the European Union as underlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The formal social dialogue structures at national level may be working but there are weaknesses at regional and local level; structures exist but there is lack of proactive social dialogue; social partners have little decision-making power; few employees are members of trade unions; there is lack of mutual trust and tradition for building consensus; there are disproportionate power relations between employers and employees; and the legal framework for social dialogue is insufficient. There is a lack of capacity and resources both among trade unions and employers’ associations which is reflected in inadequate mechanisms and competence for bipartite and tripartite consultations. Collective bargaining is mostly limited to certain sectors and to the enterprise level.

Work-life balance has not been on many beneficiary states’ agenda because of limited awareness of rights and obligations, unclear responsibilities, or negative attitudes from employers on the need for reconciling work and private/family life. Also gender equality issues, such as unequal opportunities and salaries play a role.

Furthermore, health and safety concerns are often ignored or conducted via limited inspections and low-scale enforcement of legislation. Work-related crime can be observed in the exploitation of workers and use of unregistered workers.

Beneficiary states may be unprepared for changes in the working environment and in the labour market like digitalization and the transition to a low-carbon economy. They also experience a mismatch between the skills of the labour force and the needs of employers and low participation of disadvantaged groups in the labour market.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

Given the objective of the programme, the common challenges and needs are addressed through three distinctive outcomes, which are all closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing each other: strengthen bi- and tripartite social dialogue, promote the decent work agenda and facilitate access to the labour market.

The programme will increase the awareness and knowledge among employees, employers and public authorities of the benefits of decent work and social dialogue and ensure improved capacity of social partners for transparent bipartite and tripartite collaboration. This will be obtained through maintaining a focus on decent work and the use of social dialogue as a method to ensure that different interests are taken into consideration when finding solutions to national labour market challenges.

Expected results in the 13 beneficiary states include 26 tripartite consultations at national, regional and local level, the signing of 10 collective bargaining agreements, and the training of 2000 professional staff on social dialogue. Furthermore, to enhance the implementation of the decent work agenda (fair and decent working conditions) it is envisaged to improve the decent work agreements in 50 enterprises with 7500 employees. 13 awareness raising campaigns will reach more than 10 000 people. To enforce national regulations related to the decent work agenda 150 labour inspectors, 200 social partner institutions and 2000 professional staff will be trained. To ensure better access to employment seven labour market policy measures will be developed through which 200 participants will be supported while 5000 people will be reached by awareness-rising campaigns.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The programme will contribute to strengthening bilateral relations between the beneficiary states and Norway, the donor state. Projects carried out in partnerships with entities from the donor state will be facilitated through matchmaking events and activities in conjunction with the launch of calls for proposals and partnerships will be encouraged in open calls for proposals under the programme. These partnerships can result in mutually beneficial activities and long-lasting cooperation between involved partners.

Availability of funding through open calls

Funding will be made available through open call for proposals. One call was with deadline in February 2019 was launched in the following beneficiary states in October 2018:

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

A new call for proposals will be launched in Cyprus and other beneficiary states with unspent funds in the autumn of 2019.

More information can be found on the Fund Operator website.