Sectoral Social partners adopt 2019-2020 work programme

Continuing on a long-standing tradition of joint discussions and research projects, the World Employment Confederation-Europe and UNI Europa have adopted their work programme for the EU Sectoral Social Dialogue in the temporary agency work sector for the next two years. With social innovation, regulatory challenges and capacity building, the agenda is not short of topics to address.

Published on 29th October 2018

The 2019-2020 Work Programme is adopted in a period of fundamental change. Not only labour markets are profoundly impacted by the transformations of the world of work (new forms of employment, impact of demographics, digitalisation and new skill requirements), but the EU policy agenda will also enter a phase of re-orientation and refocus, with a new European Parliament being elected in May 2019 and a new European Commission taking office later in the year.

“Our work programme for the EU Sectoral Social Dialogue is strongly connected to our social innovation agenda,” says Sébastien Delfosse, chairman of the employers’ delegation of the EU Social Dialogue Committee. “Thanks to social dialogue at national level, our industry has already established several successful programmes that very concretely achieve social innovation. We want to further promote this type of bipartite cooperation. In our next joint European research project, we intend to devote specific attention to access to training, access to social protection and the role of social dialogue in fostering social innovation.”

Employment policies

Typically, the social partners meet several times a year, addressing a number of topics they believe are important for the temporary agency work industry and the changing world of work. Together, they draft joint declarations and recommendations. They also engage in research projects with external partners to better understand and demonstrate the contribution of the sector to labour markets. In the past, major projects have been conducted for instance on vocational training, labour market transitions and online talent platforms.

In 2019-2020, special focus will be put on some of the following areas:

  • Policies to foster apprenticeships and dual learning: how temporary agency work can foster formal and informal learning and development of soft skills of workers and candidates.
  • Transferability and portability of rights for temporary agency workers: how existing bipartite funds can serve as best practices for further national and European initiatives
  • Online talent platforms: following up on the joint research project completed in 2018, how to ensure that EU and national policy debates adequately address these new forms of labour market intermediation.
  • Prevention of undeclared work: how to address the cross-border dimension of undeclared work by establishing contacts with the upcoming European Labour Authority and showcase the role of appropriate regulation of the temporary agency work industry has contributed to increase formal jobs.

Ensuring smart regulation

Social partners also focus a great deal on the EU regulatory framework for the temporary agency work sector. “Our main challenges for the next two years are to deal with national labour market reforms which contradict the spirit and objectives agreed in the EU Directive on temporary agency work (e.g. those national reforms that introduce new, unjustified restrictions on temporary agency work) and to ensure the proper application of the principles of equal treatment and equal pay to temporary agency workers, including the option for derogations” Delfosse adds.

Building capacity for social dialogue

The third major area of cooperation for the social dialogue is capacity building. “We continue to be confronted with this challenge in several EU Member States. Either because the temporary agency work sector is still less developed compared to the European average, as for example in most central and eastern European countries, or because there is limited tradition and experience in sectoral social dialogue and collective bargaining,” explains Michael Freytag, Public Affairs Manager at the World Employment Confederation-Europe. “We will work with national employers’ organisations and trade unions to foster sectoral social dialogue at national level and use EU programme such as sectoral social partner roundtable events for capacity building purposes.”


EU Sectoral Social Dialogue between the social partners for the temporary work agency has been established for many years. UNI Europa represents the workers while the World Employment Confederation Europe stands for the employers. Every two years, the social partners adopt a new work programme.

topics: Social dialogue
services: Agency work
content types: News
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