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Social dialogue in the new world of work


Social dialogue plays a crucial role in the functioning of the European social market economic model. Through constructive negotiation between employers and employees, social dialogue can deliver a more competitive economy while also improving working conditions and access to social protection. However, the profound changes in the world of work kick-started by digitalisation, globalisation, and the proliferation of non-standard forms of work raise a number of constraints that hinder the ability of social dialogue to effectively steer the labour markets through economic and social transformations. Some of these constraints deal with the current legislative framework while others are tied to the deterioration of the employer-employee relationship on which social dialogue was first built.

There is an acute need for more innovative research that investigates the impact of the transforming world of work on the capacity of social actors to engage in social dialogue, as well as its effectiveness. Moreover, innovative research is needed to highlight opportunities arising from digitalisation that social partners need to seize in order to deliver positive socio-economic outcomes.

Research activities should focus on the interplay between non-standard forms of work (temporary employment; temporary agency work, part-time work, platform work, and other forms of non-standard employment) and social dialogue. Alternately, they can investigate legislative barriers prohibiting social partners from engaging in dialogue, such as competition law in the case of self-employed workers. Research proposals should also investigate if the current legal framework remains fit for purpose and the ways in which it can be adapted to respond to the changing realities of the world of work. Proposals should analyse the outcomes of social dialogue in industries where non-standard forms of work are proliferated and where in-work poverty is present. Furthermore, they should investigate new innovative ways in which social partners have surmounted the previously mentioned barriers. Lastly, proposals should analyse the role of social dialog in defining the digital and green transition. Research activities should also focus on the specific national or regional circumstances in which social dialogue developed and how these are affecting its effectiveness today, and its ability to respond to the changes in the evolving world of work.

Where relevant, activities should build upon existing research, draw lessons from recent policy interventions in a contextual and transdisciplinary manner and propose adjustment measures, or test them through social innovation experiments. Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this call and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged.