04/13/2004

A road map for better conflict resolution

With enlargement to the ten acceding countries due to take place in May 2004,
the European Union faces wide-ranging challenges. The implications for social
and economic policy are many and Europe's decision makers must make difficult
choices. Information on all aspects of life in the acceding countries will
contribute to a better preparation for enlargement, not least in the field of
industrial relations.

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
has published a report that looks specifically at the use of social dialogue in
resolving industrial relations conflicts. The project brings employers, trade
unions, national governments and researchers from acceding countries together
with the aim of examining how best to refine existing mechanisms of
extrajudicial conflict resolution in these countries. Most significantly, the
project highlights how social dialogue can be harnessed to devise a road map
for industrial peace.

'Social dialogue and tripartite consultation have proven crucial tools for
devising road maps for industrial peace in the future, while still ensuring
economic growth in harmony with employment and social protection,' says Willy
Buschak, the Foundation's acting Director. 'Over the past two years, this
project has brought together employers, trade unions, national governments and
researchers from the 10 acceding countries to investigate how social dialogue
can be used to adapt, improve and - if necessary - reform the existing
mechanisms of extra-judicial conflict resolution.'

The project found that mediation is the dominant conflict resolution mechanism
in the acceding countries. However, the transformation towards a market economy
during the 1990s has resulted in fragile industrial relations systems in all
countries. These are characterised by heterogeneous and fragmented trade union
and employer organisations, limited sectoral collective bargaining and a
widespread absence of works councils. The project highlighted the need for more
and better training for mediators and the social partners.

The report gives information on


  • Industrial relations systems in the acceding countries
  • Institutional and regulatory frameworks for industrial action
  • Institutional and regulatory frameworks for conflict resolution

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions