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Sectoral social dialogue - Chemical industry

Social partners


Employees' organisations Employers' organisations

industriAll European Trade Union

European chemical employers' group


Social dialogue in this sector covers:

  • chemicals and chemical products
  • pharmaceutical products
  • rubber and plastic products

In the EU, around 2 million people are employed in the chemical sector (1.1 % of the EU workforce).

The EU is the leading chemical producing area of the world, representing 28% of world production. The industry has a positive trade balance, playing a key role for the export position of the European economy as a whole.

Challenges include slow demand growth in Europe, high demand growth in Asia, higher production costs and a highly regulated environment. The main regulatory challenge for the sector is the implementation of a workable and cost-effective REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemical substances) system.

Focus areas

The social partners are currently focusing on:

  • the European chemical policy review (REACH)
  • cases of best practice in using chemicals
  • health and safety management in chemical and downstream user industries.

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.


  • Joint statement on the proposal for a directive on energy efficiency (2012)
  • European Framework Agreement on Competence Profiles for Process Operators and First Line Supervisors in the Chemical Industry (2011)
  • Joint opinion on the global economic crisis (2009)
  • Joint statement on the European Union emission trading scheme (2008)
  • Working in Partnership through Responsible Care (2008)

See also "European sectoral social dialogue – recent developments" (2010 brochure).


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