Social Dialogue - Decent Work

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Social dialogue is a key instrument for economic and social cohesion and good governance. It plays an important role by promoting harmonious labour relations, fair and decent working conditions, job creation, inclusive growth and competitiveness.

The Challenge

Social dialogue, employment and working conditions are very vulnerable to economic and political changes, as has been witnessed in most European countries following the economic crisis.

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Weak social dialogue

 Increased globalisation, technological progress, declines in trade union density and the decentralisation of collective bargaining have a significant negative impact on industrial relations. Weak capacity among social partners to establish and maintain social dialogue is a major challenge.

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The financial crisis of 2008 put a heavy strain on European labour markets, leading to a sharp increase in unemployment. Although unemployment is gradually decreasing across Europe, it remains a substantial challenge, particularly for youth. Long-term unemployment is another challenge that needs attention, as well as skills mismatch.

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Unequal access to employment

Discrimination is still a challenge in the labour market. In a recent survey from EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights, 29% of respondents who looked for a job felt discriminated against based on their ethnicity. Disability and age are also factors that hinder equal access to employment.

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Substandard working conditions

The current financial and economic situation has greatly deepened workers’ concerns about working conditions, labour standards and social protection. There is low awareness of rights and obligations, and health and safety concerns are often ignored. Work-related crime, undeclared work and social dumping are the negative results of increased globalisation and mobility.

Our Approach

Our goal

We aim to strengthen tripartite cooperation between employer organisations, trade unions and public authorities and promote decent work.


Decent work covers social dialogue, strengthened rights of employees, employment and social protection. Tripartite cooperation is encouraged by the ILO to promote harmonious labor relations. To promote dialogue between employers, employees and public authorities, we support activities such as:

  • Institutional capacity-building and training
  • Cooperation between social dialogue organisations
  • Cooperation between labor inspectorates and other relevant regulatory bodies

Download the overview of our support to Social Dialogue – Decent Work to see the full list of suggested activities.

Creating partnerships

Norway has a strong tradition of tripartite consultation, bringing together workers, employers and governments in formulating and negotiating labour standards and policies. Cooperation between Norwegian entities and  entities in the beneficiary countries plays a strong role in this programme with the opportunity for close involvement of Norwegian social partners for sharing expertise and experience.

Innovation Norway is the Fund Operator for the Social Dialgue – Decent Work programme and can assist Norwegian organisations who wish to get involved and facilitiate partnerships.