Social dialogue refers to structured discussion between the organisations which represent workers and employers, known as social partners. The EU supports social dialogue at European level, and the ETF is the recognised social partner for the railway sector representing railway workers.
Together with the railway employers, who are represented by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM), we take part in the activities of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Railways. This is how we ensure that workers’ interests in all areas in the rail sector are considered – be it in passenger transport, freight transport, or workers responsible for operation of rail infrastructure.
Our common goal is to make sure that Europe implements a Single European Railway Area where workers enjoy decent working conditions and where their social rights are respected. Social dialogue provides us with an opportunity to negotiate with the employers and conclude agreements valid on European level. At the same time, through social dialogue and the consultation obligations of the European Commission, we are able to react to new developments in the railway sector and exchange views on current challenges with all parties concerned.
Social dialogue is an instrument that helps us to:
There are several hot topics we have been tackling through social dialogue. The main areas of our work are those designated in the current work programme for 2018-2019, mainly:
Within the framework of social dialogue, we pursue our work on the topics mentioned above in a variety of ways; through projects we run together with our social partners; by developing joint recommendations and agreements; or by participating in joint working groups.