Supporting social partners in Europe

Nine calls for proposals are currently open for new applications under the Social Dialogue – Decent Work programme, in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Photo credits: Christophe Vander Eecken

Through the Social Dialogue – Decent Work programme, we aim to strengthen tripartite cooperation between employer organisations, trade unions and public authorities and promote decent work. So far, 45 projects with social partners from Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have received funding from this programme.

The programme is part of the Norway Grants portfolio, focusing on promoting good labour relations, fair working conditions and increased participation in the labour market.

In Norway, the structured and well-functioning dialogue between trade unions, employer associations and the government is considered a key instrument to achieve shared economic growth and competitiveness for Norwegian products and services. Social dialogue and collective bargaining ensure decent pay and benefits for workers, health and safety measures in the workplaces, an open labour market in which women with family responsibilities, the disabled, and young and older workers are included, and active measures to fight undeclared work and social dumping.

a woman and two men at work

New projects aiming at strengthening the structures of national social dialogue may for instance encourage bilateral or trilateral negotiations and establish a beneficial environment for discussing collective agreements using the experience of Norwegian social partners. Project activities may include establishing a formal meeting structure, taking part in study visits to Norway and drafting collective agreements within agreed sectors. Such joint activities may increase the capacity of social partners to agree on key negotiating principles, procedures and topics for future negotiations.

Other projects may see employers and trade unions focusing on promoting decent work in companies to build awareness on how to avoid discrimination and unequal treatment of employees and negotiate a company strategy on these issues. Activities may include carrying out an analysis of employers’ and employees’ needs and expectations on decent pay, work-life balance, gender equality, training and health and safety. By building awareness and showing a will to strengthen labour relations, working conditions may improve, leading to a higher level of productivity and work satisfaction.

Finally, the new calls focus on cooperation between social partners to improve the participation in the labour market for young people, older workers, the disabled and women with family responsibilities. Activities may for instance include examining the labour market situation for disadvantaged groups, focusing on company, government and trade union attitudes, recruitment policies, work-life balance, pay structures and qualifications. The social partners involved in the projects may want to discuss and take part in the development of Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) as well as awareness-raising activities and campaigns to promote equal access to the labour market.

For more information on the calls, check out our websitethe Fund Operator’s website or contact the Fund Operator directly at