Fabian Demicoli

Capacity Building on the European Social Dialogue


GRTU Vice President Michael Galea has last week participated at the seminar  organised by; UEAPME, ETUC/CES, Business Europe and CEEP.
The project's main objective was to improve the implementation of EU
Social Dialogue autonomous instruments. This seminar focused mainly on
the state of play of the Social Dialogue in Cyprus , Greece and Malta in
which a lack of or insufficient implementation has been observed in the
past.

In this seminar we had the opportunity to discuss implementation practices, experiences and challenges in these respective countries. We had the opportunity to share the exchange of practices with Social partners from the respective countries to understand better and learn about the opportunities and tools available at European level which in turn will  help us as social partners at national level achieve better implementation.

The introduction was delivered by Mr Patrick Itschert from ETUC. He gave a brief background of the history of the ESD and also the current state of play. He high-lighted that Social Dialogue  is a fundamental part of the European Union and its constitution. It has long been viewed as one of the important mechanisms for the design and implementation of policies, especially in the field of social and employment policies. This most especially in the current crisis where the role of Social dialogue has played to cushion the impact, and overcome the negative effects of the crisis.

A long discussion focused on the issue of why the framework agreements namely; Telework, work related stress and harassment at place of work are not being implemented. Michael Galea explained that Malta was a special case. More than 98% of the business are micro with a very high percentage of them self employed. Maltese businesses lack human resources. More so even the organizations like ours and others lack human resources. In Malta the Social Dialogue is very active and well represented. It is a known fact that on framework programs Malta lack behind other EU countries like UK, Germany and France due to the lack of resources both financial and also from an HR point of view. Due to the fact that locally organizations are so small, each employee has to perform several roles which relegates the organization not to be on the ball at all times. Other problems of lack of resources comes around because membership in organizations that represent both employers and employees are not compulsory. Therefore in a business environment similar to the one we are currently operating in makes it more difficult to get businesses and members interested to look at what opportunities are on their way. The main priority will be to survive this economic turbulence that we are currently experiencing. Having said all this the fact remains that at EU level the information is their and if one works out the processes right support is there also.

The Maltese group presented an action plan for Malta. The first step was to create a steering group to get ourselves informed with the EU information. The next strategy it to look at the right channels of communications with our members. In the case of GRTU Michael Galea explained the effective means of communications with the members namely :

the NewString

hand holding members in processes like applying for grants and other calls.

going to their organisation and speak with them on one to one level going to local councils and organize meetings on locality level.

Another issue that was hi-lighted by Malta group was that on a local level Malta should move from a tripartite to bipartite form of dialogue that is to create a dialogue between the social partners namely Employers and trade Unions.

Another priority that was discussed was growth. Today growth is not present in most EU countries and here the examples of Greece and Cyprus where mentioned in great detail. As for the future generations we have to look into the idea to work with the least requirements possible. In these difficult time trade unions have to support and find a solution.

In times of crisis Social Dialogue is very important. Currently on this level the main problem is communication. To use the right channels to disseminate information. As Social partners we have to use our capacity and do what is useful for the enterprises and employees and never act as a government authority. Social partners have to communicate and make visible everything that is done as stakeholders so that everyone will know that we make the difference.

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