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Outcomes

Proper social dialogue in the steel sector is making a very cautious, not to say hesitant, start. But it is happening in the face of difficulties such as international competition, new climate constraints and a collapse in market demand (in 2008-2009).

Only belatedly, and with some difficulty, did the steel sector set up a Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee. Even though the social partners played an advisory role for many years under the ECSC, they held back from embarking on autonomous social dialogue.

Social dialogue eventually took off in 2006, and just two joint opinions have been adopted so far. According to the SSDC work programme, the issues to be addressed include health and safety at work, evolving skill requirements, assessing structural change and promoting the lobbying role of the SSDC vis-à-vis the European institutions.

It should be noted, however, that this European social dialogue is being played out in difficult circumstances, owing to the new climate constraints (the EU Emissions Trading System), growing international competition and, since 2008-2009, an economic crisis resulting in a substantial downturn in market demand.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD