European Trade Union Federations say Commission must limit its power over social dialogue

SD Review PR

(Press Release, Brussels, 29 March 2022) The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and nine other European Trade Union Federations (ETUFs) shared a joint position on the European Commission’s Social Dialogue Review.

The position comes ahead of a series of informal consultations with social partners, beginning on Tuesday, 29 March 2022 with a discussion on a new framework on Social Partner Agreements.

The position calls for prioritising the urgent clarification of the rules that govern Social Partner Agreements, which are negotiated with a view to becoming legally binding (usually in the form of a directive).

Meaningful social dialogue requires consistent, transparent and objective rules to ensure legal certainty across the board. These rules should be put in a single legal text which clearly prevails over the ambiguous Better Regulation Toolkit and guidelines as revised last November - without the consultation of social partners.

While the uncertainty around social dialogue has been brewing for some time, the EPSU v Commission judgement of last September highlighted an absence of clear rules – an absence which gives the Commission sole control of/over future Social Partner Agreements.

The ETUFs have therefore come together to call on the Commission to limit its unfettered power, respect the role of social partners and work together towards a clear, transparent set of rules on social partner agreements.

The consultations precede an expected Recommendation on National Social Dialogue and Communication on Social Dialogue at EU Level (foreseen for autumn). These consultations are essential for the work of the ETUFs: there can be no efficient EU social dialogue without strong collective bargaining rights at national level.

EPSU and the ETUFs look forward to collaborating with the Commission during these consultations and beyond to ensure the strength and clarity of these rules. Read the full position here.


For press, please contact Chloe Kenny ([email protected], +32 (0) 494 89 48 80).

Note to editors: European social dialogue refers to discussions, consultations, negotiations and joint actions involving organisations representing the two sides of industry (employers and workers).

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It represents 8 million public service workers across Europe. EPSU organises workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local, regional and central government across Europe. In our sectors we organise workers in the public, the non-profit, mixed and private sector including in multinational companies. It is the recognised regional organisation of Public Services International (PSI). For more information please go to: