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Social Dialogue: Background on the process

Before the European Commission propose a new European OSH legislative instrument, the issue must be discussed through the social dialogue process implemented by Article 154 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Main provisions

This process seeks to achieve joint actions on a particular issue by the social partners through discussions and consultations, without resorting to legislation. However legislation might still be an outcome if the social partners think this is the most appropriate way forward or if they cannot agree on a solution, thus allowing the commission to propose legislation to deal with the issue concerned.

At each stage, the social partners have six weeks to comment on the consultation. If they decide to take action, by way of a social partner agreement, then this must be developed within nine months of agreement.

The usual consultees involved in social dialogue are:

Member State governments have no formal role in social dialogue. However, if you have an interest in a particular occupational safety and health issue undergoing the social partner consultation process, then you can get in touch with:

Updated 2021-02-22