Social Dialogue During the COVID-19 Pandemic: EU Experience

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-4-44-53
Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University, 24, Minina Str., Nizhny Novgorod, 603950, Russian Federation.

Received 15.05.2023. Revised 13.10.2023. Accepted 05.02.2024.

Abstract. The article is devoted to the study of the European Union member states’ experience in the field of maintaining social dialogue during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The author explores strategies for maintaining social dialogue, defines their specific features, and determines the risks within their implementation. It is revealed that the approbation of these strategies forced the national authorities of all EU member states to switch to tripartite consultations, characterized by a high level of representation. The priorities of the social dialogue during the pandemic aimed at ensuring the basic rights of workers in the European Union in various sectors are investigated. Measures ensuring health and safety of workers were put at the forefront. Social partners expected to overcome the main difficulties caused by the pandemic with the help of state support measures. At the same time, they raised topical issues of modeling the economic and social post-crisis recovery. The contribution of social partners to the training and professional development of skilled labor during the pandemic is being established. Effective practices are considered to contribute to the expansion of education opportunities and advanced training of employees through the conclusion of collective agreements with the formation of accounts for such an education. The mechanism of adaptation to the changing labor market using the transfer of workers to remote work is shown. It is emphasized that trade unions have chosen offensive tactics in dialogue with employers, seeking to protect the interests of employees when switching to remote work. It is concluded that the EU countries as a whole managed to overcome the risks of curtailing the social dialogue.

Keywords: European Union, pandemic, social dialogue, social partners, trade unions, workers, employers, collective agreements, labor market, telework, training


1. Ahrendt D., Cabrita J., Clerici E., Hurley J., Leončikas T., Mascherini M., Riso S., Sandor E. Living, Working and COVID-19. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2020. 66 .

2. Barbieri T., Basso G., Scicchitano S. Italian Workers at Risk during the COVID-19 Epidemic. Italian Economic Journal, 2022, vol. 8, pp. 175-195. Available at: 

3. Menta G. Poverty in the COVID-19 Era: Real Time Data Analysis on Five European Countries. The Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ) Working Paper Series no. 568. 2021. 45 p. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11574.63045 

4. Conte A., Lecca P., Sakkas S., Salotti S. The Territorial Economic Impact of COVID-19 in the EU. A RHOMOLO Analysis. European Commission, 2020. 4 p. Available at: (accessed 10.10.2023).

5. Cantó O., Francesco F., Fiorio ., Kuypers S., Marchal S., Romaguera-de-la-Cruz M., Tasseva I., Verbist G. Welfare Resilience at the Onset of the COVID‑19 Pandemic in a Selection of European Countries: Impact on Public Finance and Household Incomes. Review of Income and Wealth, 2022, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 293-322. DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12530

6. Gallo G., Raitano M. SOS Incomes: Simulated Effects of COVID19 and Emergency Benefits on Individual and Household Income Distribution in Italy. The Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ) Working Paper Series no. 568. 2020. 39 p. Available at: (accessed 10.10.2023).

7. Contreras R., Sanz P. Involvement of Social Partners in Policymaking during the COVID-19 Outbreak. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2021. 58 p.

8. Galgóczi B. Just Transition on the Ground: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Dialogue. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 2020, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 367-382. DOI: 10.1177/0959680120951704

9. Flisi S., Santangelo G. Occupations in the European Labour Market During the COVID‑19 Pandemic. Intereconomics, 2022, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 120-126. DOI: 10.1007/s10272-022-1040-y

10. Fana M., Tolan S., Torrejón S., Brancati C., Fernández-Macías E. The COVID Confinement Measures and EU Labour Markets. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2020. 31 p. DOI: 10.2760/079230

11. Möhring K., Weiland A., Reifenscheid M., Naumann E., Wenz A., Rettig T., Krieger U., Fikel M., Cornesse C., Blom A.G. Inequality in Employment Trajectories and Their Socio-economic Consequences During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany. 2021. 39 p. Available at: (accessed 10.10.2023). DOI: 10.31219/

12. Pouliakas K., Branka J. EU Jobs at Highest Risk of COVID19 Social Distancing – Is the Pandemic Exacerbating the Labour Market Divide? Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union. Cedefop Working Paper no. 1, 2020. Available at: (accessed 10.10.2023).

13. Wielen der Van W., Barrios S. Economic Sentiment During the COVID Pandemic: Evidence from Search Behaviour in the EU. Journal of Economics and Business, 2020, vol. 115, no. 3. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

14. Arellano-Bover J. The Effect of Labor Market Conditions at Entry on Workers’ Long-Term Skills. Bonn, Institute of Labor Economics, 2020. 45 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

15. Schnabel C. Union Membership and Collective Bargaining: Trends and Determinants. Bonn, Institute of Labor Economics, 2020. 42 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

16. Baiocco S., Simonelli F., Westhoff L., eds. Study on Mapping Opportunities and Challenges for Micro and Small Enterprises in Offering their Employees Up- or Re-skilling Opportunities. Bruxelles, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission, 2020. 138 p.

17. Cetrulo A., Guarascio D., Virgillito M.E. The Privilege of Working from Home at the Time of Social Distancing. Intereconomics, 2020, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 142-147. DOI: 10.1007/s10272-020-0891-3

18. Cetrulo A., Guarascio D., Virgillito M.E. Working from Home and the Explosion of Enduring Divides: Income, Employment and Safety Risks. LEM Working Paper Series, 2020, no. 38. 41 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

19. Dingel J., Neiman B. How Many Jobs Can be Done at Home? White Paper. Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute, University of Chicago, 2020. 18 p.

20. Fernandez-Macias E., Bisello M. A Taxonomy of Tasks for Assessing the Impact of New Technologies on Work. JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology, 2020, vol. 4. 31 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

21. Uldry M., Leenknecht A. S. Impact of COVID19 on Persons with Disabilities: European Leaders Must Act Now – Extract from the Human Rights Report 2020. Bruxelles, European Disability Forum, 2021. 24 p.

22. Sostero M., Milasi S., Hurley J., Fernandez-Macías E., Bisello M. Teleworkability and the COVID‑19 Crisis: a New Digital Divide? JRC Working Papers Series on Labour, Education and Technology, 2020, vol. 5. 72 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

23. Vasilescu M., Serban A., Dimian G., Aceleanu M., Picatoste X. Digital Divide, Skills and Perceptions on Digitalisation in the European Union – Towards a Smart Labour Market. PLOS ONE, 23.04.2020. Available at:


1. Coronavirus Pandemic in the EU – Fundamental Rights Implications. Bulletin 1. 1 February – 20 March. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2020. 60 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

2. Employment and Social Developments in Europe. Towards a Strong Social Europe in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Crisis: Reducing Disparities and Addressing Distributional Impacts. Luxemburg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2020. 176 p.

3. The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan. Luxemburg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2020. 48 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

4. The COVID-19 Crisis Must Not Be Used to Undermine Workers’ Rights. IndustriAll, 03.04.2020. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

5. Joint Recommendations on Safe and Healthy Workplaces in the Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Plastics and Rubber Industries in Times of COVID-19. European Chemical Employers Group, IndustriAll European Trade Union. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

6. Joint ETUCE/EFEE Statement on the Impact of the COVID19 Crisis on Sustainable Education Systems at Times of Crisis and beyond. Brussels, The European Federation of Education Employers, European Trade Union Committee for Education – Comite Syndical Europeen de L’Education, 26.06.2020. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

7. Joint Statement on the COVID-19 Crisis. UNI Europa Graphical and Packaging, Intergraf, March 2020. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

8. Joint Statement. Efficient Enforcement in the Aftermath of the COVID19 Pandemic. Brussels, IRU, ETF Road Transport Section, Corte, ECR, ROADPOL, 29.05.2020. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

9. Labour Market and Wage. Developments in Europe. Annual Review. 2020. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2021. 128 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

10. Getting Skills Right. Making Adult Learning Work in Social Partnership. Paris, OECD Publishing, 2019. 24 . Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

11. Skills Anticipation in Sweden (2022 Update). Cedefop, 21.03.2023. Available at: (accessed 02.04.2023).

12. Unions & Skills II – Why Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining matter for Skills Systems and Training Provisions. Paris, TUAC – Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD Commission, 2020. 30 p. Available at: (accessed 02.04.2023).

13. Pact for Skills. Annual Report. 2022. European Commission. 38 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

14. Telework in the EU Before and After COVID-19: Where We Were, Where We Head Do. Science for Policy Briefs, Joint Research Center, 2020. 8 p. Available at: (accessed 19.03.2023).

15. Company Agreements on Smart-Working Suggest that Teleworking Will Be Here to Stay. 28.09.2020. Available at: (accessed 12.04.2023).

For citation:
Egorov A. Social Dialogue During the COVID-19 Pandemic: EU Experience. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 4, pp. 44-53. EDN: UUXWXB

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 6
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The “Pivot to Asia”: AUKUS in the Perception of American Politicum
  • The Collapse of the European Collective Security System
  • Public Investment and Sustainability of World Economy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.