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press release

Agency Work Social Partners Share Lessons To Foster Social Innovation

The World Employment Confederation-Europe and UNI-Europa, EU Social Partners for the temporary agency work sector, put forward recommendations to foster social innovation drawing on the lessons learned from initiatives implemented by sectoral social partners across Europe. Special attention is put on new solutions for training, working conditions and social protection of workers.

Published on 1st December 2020

The World Employment Confederation-Europe and UNI-Europa, the EU Social Partners for the temporary agency work sector, put forward recommendations to foster social innovation – especially in the areas of training, working conditions and social protection. The recommendations draw upon lessons learned from initiatives put in place in the sector, often based on social partner actions.

Besides fostering social dialogue, the World Employment Confederation-Europe and UNI-Europa encourage further collaboration with policymakers and stakeholders, especially education training providers and institutions arranging social protection, in order to foster the transferability and scalability of social innovation practices across countries and sectors. They also recommend facilitating access to funding for national social partners at European and national level as well as using the opportunities offered by new technologies such as automation, digitalisation and artificial intelligence.

“The sector of temporary agency work has been driving social innovation through social dialogue for many years. We believe that this experience can inspire new practices to reconcile the need for flexible work and the requirement to protect workers’ rights and working conditions,” says Bettina Schaller, President of the World Employment Confederation-Europe.

“Fostering social innovation got even more important and relevant in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The practices put in place by the social partners during the crisis have contributed to increasing labour market resilience, protecting workers, safeguarding work and preparing for an economic and social recovery,” adds Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI-Europa.

The recommendations are informed by the findings of a research project commissioned by the World Employment Confederation-Europe and UNI-Europa, as part of the EU Sectoral Social Dialogue for temporary agency work. In a two-year project the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and the Catholic University of Leuven/HIVA have studied 15 cases of social innovation practices implemented in the temporary agency work sector in the areas of training, working conditions and social protection.

The cases offer concrete inspiration to develop tailor-made, national solutions of social innovation. The joint recommendations also cover these specific areas, encouraging for instance to foster the setting up and development of complementary schemes of social protection that are reinforcing governmental schemes, while ensuring the transferability and portability of rights for temporary agency workers.

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