This project will seek to support efforts by employers and trade unions to implement the EU social acquis in SMEs in the 10 central and eastern European countries, especially in the area of working conditions and training/skills development. In this way we hope to support and facilitate the development of the social dialogue in the accession countries, while enhancing the interaction between European level social dialogue and the national level.
The project aims to support the development of new relations between SMEs employers’ associations and trade unions organisations and greater joint understanding of social issues in CEECs.
The CEECs have undergone rapid social and economic changes. There is a need to develop exchanges between the social partners on the implications of such changes, integrating specific issues related to SMEs (see conclusions of the social partners Conference in Bratislava March 2001 attached).
The project will build upon the Joint Declaration signed between ETUC and UEAPME "the social dialogue as a tool to meet the economic and social challenges of small enterprises" (see attached) which aims "to bring added value through developing the dialogue on specific issues concerning small enterprises and their workers…including in response to the challenges of enlargement". The Declaration identified vocational training and health and safety as issues for further cooperation.
The project will make use of the "Framework of actions for the lifelong development of competences and qualifications" agreed between ETUC, UNICE-UEAPME and CEEP in March 2002, current work of the TUTB on health and safety in SMEs, and UEAPME’s Business Support Programme on SMEs and Enlargement which identified three priorities for further work "access to finance, participation in the social dialogue for SMEs’ associations and vocational training, professional qualification and innovation" (see attached).
The project consists of national round tables plus a seminar, outlined below. A preparatory meeting will prepare the project. An external expert will follow the discussions in the round tables and final seminar and help prepare the report of the discussions (approx. 30 days work).