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International Research Project DIADSE (Dialogue for Advancing Social Europe)


Project financed by EU, European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Social Dialogue, Industrial Relations (Agreement number. VS/2014/0530) Duration: December 2014 – December 2016. Project Management: University of Amsterdam (AIAS-HSI). Coordinators: Prof. Dr Evert Verhulp and Dr Nuria. E. Ramos Martín.

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International research project 'Dialogue for Advancing Social Europe' (DIADSE).
The research team of the project will carry out a comparative analysis of labour law reforms and social dialogue initiatives in several EU Member States. This project will investigate how the social dimension of Europe both at the supranational and national levels has been affected by the latest socio-economic adjustments and how the EU social model might be re-constructed and advanced through social dialogue. The research team will examine the involvement of the social partners in labour and social reforms at EU Member States level – in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Poland, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, and Belgium – in light of what have been the effects of those reforms.
The DIADSE research project will investigate the role of the social partners in the reforms of collective bargaining systems and labour protection legislation occurring in several EU Member States and will study to what extent these reforms are efficient in achieving the objectives that they are aiming at: namely, enhanced employability, reduced labour market segmentation, and flexibility. The research will cover the reforms taking place in the last years, since the economic crisis started (2008-2015).
The project applies a juridical analytical framework combined with a qualitative analysis.
For further information on this project, please contact Dr Nuria Ramos Martín,

Information on the action / Specific objectives

The DIADSE project will examine the role played by social partners in reforming social legislation and
enhancing employability and preserving job quality. Attention will be paid to the impact of national reforms in the areas of employment protection legislation and collective bargaining structures leading to greater flexibility in fixing working conditions, including working time adjustments and setting of wages.
Many of the labour law reforms, adopted by the EU Member States in the last lustrum in the context of the economic crisis, are fighting labour market segmentation and promoting more active employment policies as a response to a paradigm shift from job security to employment security. The research team will focus their analysis on:

  •  the role of social dialogue in fostering economic and labour market performance;
  • the role of social dialogue in preserving the quality of employment. In particular, highlighting social
  • partners’ initiatives tackling employment precariousness and vulnerability, fighting undeclared work and promoting dignity and equality at the workplace.
  • the role of the social partners (at both EU and national level) in changing to a new social dimension
  • characterized by a new balance between employment security and a more flexible and evolving labour market.

Implementation of the action

The research approach of this project is interdisciplinary, involving a legal analysis of the reforms of employment protection legislation in the relevant EU Member States since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008 and a qualitative research based on interviews with social partners and policy makers at both national and EU level on the role of social dialogue in the reform of labour market institutions, social protection systems and industrial relations in these EU Member States. The research team will follow a mixed-method approach. The research team of the DIADSE project will use primarily:

  • analyses based on desk research on available literature, current legislation, reports of the national
  • authorities (ministries of employment, economic and social councils, observatories, etcetera), relevant case law at EU and national level and available texts of collective agreements;
  •  analyses based on publicly available labour market data;
  •  interviews with representatives from the social partners (Member States and EU level);

Targeted groups

The main groups directly concerned by the project are social partners and policy makers around the EU. The project will provide updated information on the involvement of the social partners in the reforms of collective bargaining systems and labour protection legislation occurring in several EU Member States and will examine to what extent these reforms are efficient in achieving the objectives that they are aiming at: namely, enhanced employability, reduced labour market segmentation, and flexibility. Therefore, the action DIADSE aims to promote cross-country share of knowledge and mutual learning on industrial relations and improve the capacity of the social partners to enhance their role in designing reforms of labour and social law that are effective in achieving the pursued objectives of reducing unemployment rates and tackling the duality of the labour market.

Transnational dimension

The project DIADSE has four transnational dimensions:

  • regarding the organisation of the project: co-operation between 3 EU research centres, as well as with social partners and policy makers in the respective countries and participation in the research team of several external national experts with the adequate knowledge and research skills to provide nine detailed country reports on labour market reforms and transformation of industrial relations in the EU member States;
  • regarding the analyses of the data and the reports: the focus is on comparing data, legal framework and labour market information from nine EU Member States (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, and Ireland);
  • regarding the target audience at the main conference: policy makers, representatives of the European Social partners and trade union officials and employers’ representatives will be invited EU-wide;
  • regarding the locations of the seminars and conference: these will be held in three member states,
  • namely, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Arrangements for evaluation/monitoring of the action

A scientific committee is set up for the purpose of monitoring the adequate progress of the research and the organization of diffusion activities. This committee will be integrated by the following persons: Dr. Paul de Beer, Co-Director of the Amsterdams Instituut voor ArbeidsStudies (AIAS) – University of Amsterdam; Prof. Dr. Maarten Keune, Chair in Social Security and Employment Relations and Co-Director of AIAS – UvA and Prof. Dr. Evert Verhulp, Director of the Hugo Sinzheimer Instituut (HSI) and Director of the Department of Labour and Social Security Law - University of Amsterdam.
Apart from the daily management of the research project by the project leader, Professor Verhulp, in collaboration with Dr. Nuria Ramos Martin, as co-coordinator, Prof. Keune and Prof. De Beer are available for consultancy and monitoring of the study. They will comment upon the draft design, provide contacts from their networks if required, and comment upon the draft and final reports.

Innovativeness of the action

In three ways the foreseen research, seminars and conference will have added value and will be

  • It is a pioneering comparative study covering a substantial number of EU countries (9) with different industrial relations traditions that considers the role of the social partners in the reforms of collective bargaining systems and labour protection legislation occurring in several EU Member States;
  • It is the first comparative study covering several EU Member States that will provide nine specific case studies addressing to what extent those labour law reforms are efficient in achieving the objectives that they are aiming to: namely, enhanced employability, reduced labour market segmentation, and flexibility.
  • The study is multidisciplinary and complements the analysis of collective bargaining and social dialogue practices by an assessment of the legal framework of these Member States concerning the social rights of workers, as well as an overview of the broader trends on labour market segmentation in the countries under study.

Expected results and dissemination plans

The proposed research and information DIADSE action will provide new knowledge on the role of social partners in transforming industrial relations and advancing fundamental social rights. The research team will examine how industrial relations are organised at Member State level and try to identify successful initiatives of the social partners for informing the reforms of labour law and collective bargaining, promoting employment growth and active labour market participation of citizens.

Deliverables of the project:

  • Nine national reports
  • Nine country policy papers summarising the main findings, lessons and policy implications from the national study.
  • One Overview report - Based on the national reports an overview report will be prepared with two main parts, the first part, comparing the findings of the country studies and the second part addressing the EU dimension of social dialogue and the role played in the reforms of labour and social law and in the transformation of industrial relations in the EU Member States.

During the research project, the AIAS-HSI website will act as the project website. This fully publicly accessible website will be used to provide information about the project to the public at large, and to post documents and information concerning the seminars and main conference. In the follow-up phase, the results of the reports and of the conference will be communicated to trade unionists, employers’ representatives, researchers, representatives of the EU institutions and European social partners, policy makers, journalists and other stakeholders throughout the EU interested in workers’ rights, working conditions, industrial relations, and collective bargaining.

Disclaimer excluding Commission responsibility

This communication related to the action DIADSE is made by the beneficiaries and it reflects only the author’s view. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.