Economic Crisis : Structured Industrial Dialogue Can Prevent Social Unrest

European Social Policy, February 12, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Economic Crisis : Structured Industrial Dialogue Can Prevent Social Unrest


"Conflicts and social unrest in the European Union can be prevented by encouraging social dialogue before more conflicts will lead to serious labour market disturbances. Social dialogue is now more needed than ever," said a senior official of the EU executive upon presenting, on 3 February, the Commission's latest Industrial Relations Report. He said the findings of this report show that structured dialogue between workers and employers can be of great help in overcoming the economic crisis. High quality industrial relations between companies and workers can help both sides adapt to change "while protecting them from transitory shocks".

"The Commission recognises the concerns among workers, for example in the UK or Greece. They fear losing their jobs and incomes," the official said. "That's why we really encourage social partners to sit down and talk." Throughout the Union, high-level meetings between the social partners, like BusinessEurope and ETUC, take place more frequently during the economic crisis period than at other times, commented Chantal Hughes, the spokesperson for Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla. "We are in close contact on the developments," she added.

Earlier, Spidla said that the EU's economic recovery plan and the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs can only be implemented with the involvement of the social partners.a"Good industrial relations produce positive economic and social results, both in periods of economic decline and growth," he said.

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