Social dialogue

Shaking hands

24 / 6 / 2016 3.09pm

The NHS European Office represents the NHS in the European Social dialogue process, which brings together representatives of employers and employees (the 'social partners') in a structured process for exchanging information and influencing EU legislation. The European Commission has a legal duty to consult the social partners on all employment-related proposals and the social partners can negotiate agreements which can be made legally binding.

The NHS European Office represents the NHS in two social partner organisations, the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers' Association (HOSPEEM) and the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP). We are also members of the Partnership of Public Employers (PPE), the UK section of CEEP.

Cross-industry social dialogue

CEEP, as the representative body for public sector employers, is one of the intersectoral social partner organisations which participate in cross-industry social dialogue (together with representatives of private sector employers, small and medium size enterprises and the trade unions).

Cross-industry social dialogue covers the whole economy and labour market and looks at issues common to all fields of employment and social affairs. The results and standards adopted by the cross-industry social partners apply to businesses and workers across Europe. For example, the EU Directive on parental leave implements an agreement reached by the cross-industry social partners.

Social dialogue in the hospital and healthcare sector

Alongside the cross-industry social dialogue, there are a number of sectoral social dialogue committees, including some for the hospital and healthcare sector, looking at employment-related issues of specific concern or particular importance for their sector. The hospital-sector social partners are HOSPEEM and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU). 

Why engage in social dialogue?

There are a number of benefits for the NHS from involvement in social dialogue, including:

  • early sight of European Commission policy developments likely to affect the health sector
  • the opportunity to influence proposals at an early stage and take an active role in negotiations and discussions on issues important to the health sector across Europe
  • access to a platform for the exchange of information, good practice and learning experiences.

For more information about Social Dialogue and the NHS European Office's work on EU employment issues more generally, see the European employment policy pages on the NHS Employers website.

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