Extracts from the press conference by László Andor on industrial relations report
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 11 April 2013, László Andor, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, gave a press conference following the publication of the EC report on industrial relations. According to the report, the on-going economic crisis poses a serious challenge to the dialogue between workers' and employers' representatives. The report shows that recent government reforms have not always been accompanied by fully effective social dialogue, leading to increasingly conflictual industrial relations in Europe.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the Berlaymont building in Brussels
||General view of the press conference
||Soundbite by László Andor, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (in ENGLISH): The countries in which social dialogue is well-established and industrial relations institutions are strong are generally those where the economic and social situation is better and under less pressure.The Industrial Relations in Europe 2012 report gives a comprehensive picture of the state of relations between employers, workers, their respective representatives, and governments throughout Europe.And it shows that social dialogue is currently under great strain in Europe.There are various causes, all linked to the current crisis and the difficult macroeconomic conditions.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by László Andor (in ENGLISH): The report shows that in Central and Eastern Europe industrial relations institutions in general remain weak and fragmented, although Slovenia is a notable exception.In the 15 countries that were Member States before 2004, some 70% of workers are covered by negotiated agreements at their workplace. But in Central and Eastern Europe this figure is only 44%.This state of affairs is partly the result of the weak and fragmented structure of social partner organisations –for both employers and employees.
||Soundbite by László Andor (in ENGLISH): The report also shows that social dialogue is under strain in the public sector in Europe, which employs a quarter of the EU's workforce.Restructuring and modernisation of the public sector, including administration, education and healthcare, has taken place in many countries for quite some time.Recently, governments have prioritised public sector efficiency gains but in some countries, the methods chosen to implement decisions have often not included social dialogue.As a result, public spending cuts and reforms triggered a wave of industrial conflicts and demonstrations in the public sector.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by László Andor (in ENGLISH): I have painted a worrying picture of the state of industrial relations in Europe in 2012, an analysis that was shared by ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in Oslo earlier this week.Yet the Commission emphatically believes that social dialogue remains a highly important part of the European social model.This is why we have organised a high-level conference with social partners in Budapest next Monday and Tuesday, as part of a process of intensifying the debate with them.
||Soundbite by László Andor (in ENGLISH): I would like to end by summarising three important conclusions from this report.First, that well-established and comprehensive social dialogue contributes to economic prosperity.Second, that reforms introduced without respecting social dialogue are less likely to be well implemented and durable. It’s not a question of wanting to slow down reforms but rather making sure they will be implemented in practice more quickly.Third, that countries where social dialogue is weak need to strengthen it rather than further dilute it.
||Departure of László Andor