European Sector Social Dialogue Committees (SSDC) are fora for consultation on European policies. They are also tools for autonomous social dialogue among the European social partners who may develop joint actions and conduct negotiations on issues of common interest, thereby contributing directly to shaping EU labour legislation and policies.
This policy instrument set up by the European Commission is provided to the chemical social partners as well as to 42 other sectors operating in the internal market.
The counterpart of ECEG in the SSDC is industriAll Europe, representing around 8 million workers from all European countries.
For further information please go to the SSDC website:
Definition of Social Dialogue
At international level, social dialogue is defined by the internation Labour Organisation (ILO) -"including all types of negotiation, consultation or simply exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy".
At European level, social dialogue is defined by provisions of Articles 152, 154 and 155 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). These articles provide European social dialogue with a framework and basic principles for its functioning.
Forms of Social Dialogue
Bipartite: this is the autonomous dialogue between employers' organisations and workers' organisations and it refers to discussions, consultations, negotiations and joint action involving the two sides of industry. Bipartite meetings take place within the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee structure (SSDC).
Tripartite: the European tripartite social dialogue involves the European institutions (Commission, and where appropriate, Council and European Council) as well as the social partners. This takes place within the Tripartite Social Summit and allows for discussions on diverse policy areas, such as macroeconomic, employment, social protection and education and training.
The European Commission promoted the SSDC between the representatives of the European trade unions and employers' organisations as an instrument for better governance and for social and economic reforms.
Social partners have reached a large number of autonomous agreements at the European level which they implement themselves, while others have been transformed into binding legislation.
The sectoral social dialogue committees consist of a maximum of 66 representatives of the social partners, comprising an equal number of employers' and workers' representatives. They are chaired either by a representative of the social partners or, at their request, by the representative of the Commission, who, in all cases, provides the secretariat for the committees.
Each committee adopts its own rules of procedure, and holds at least one plenary meeting per year, dealing with more specific questions at meetings of enlarged secretariats or restricted working parties. The task of preparing meetings, agenda-setting and follow-up is delegated to the respective secretariats of the social partners, together with the Commission.
The EU Social Dialogue Liaison Forum
The EU Social Dialogue Forum brings together social partners at cross-industry and sectoral level to provide information and discuss cross-cutting topics. It aims at fostering synergies across sectors and between cross-industry and sectoral social dialogue. The liaison forum also provides a platform to social partners to present joint initiatives and share best practice, or discuss shared challenges.
In the course of the year, there are regular meetings dedicated to providing an update on social policy initiatives of the Commission, and on specific horizontal issues relevant to EU social partners.
The outcomes of Social Dialogue
The European Commission suggested in its 2004 Communication (re-affired in 2010) typology to classify social dialogue outcomes according to both their binding or non-binding character and the implementation or follow-up given to them.