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The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced labour Studies–Hugo Sinzheimer institute (AIAS-HSI) is partner of a research project funded by the European Commission: SOWELL - Social dialogue in welfare services.


The SOWELL project considers the care services sector in an employment relations perspective, as a new arena for building solidarity and labour market coordination through social dialogue institutions in Europe. It focuses on working conditions, employment relations institutions on the one hand, and on trade unions and employer associations’ strategies, on the other, in two specific care services – Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and Long-Term Care (LTC) – selected for their relevance in terms of employment, and implementation of the EU social policy. Over the last decades and, especially after the 2008-09 economic crisis in many European countries, the growing demand of care services in conditions of permanent austerity in public finance has brought to an increasing plurality in the nature and kind of providers and to a fragmentation in the employment regulation and working conditions, within a labour intensive sector. Accordingly, the public authorities have to conciliate different and often opposing pressures towards (i) public budget constraints, (ii) the need to provide a growing share of services, (iii) to ensure fair and protected working conditions to the personnel involved, and (iv) to maintain a good quality in these services.


SOWELL has three interrelated research objectives. The starting aim is the systematic mapping of the characteristics and main transformations of the labour market and working conditions in the different countries. The second objective concerns the understanding of the role played in these fields by trade union and employers’ associations to promote and sustain social dialogue in this arena. Finally, a third goal is to focus on the role of social dialogue at EU level: how can social dialogue at EU-level be improved and what are the repercussions on the national social dialogue institutions?

Project’s website

SOWELL’s central website: SOWELL – Just another WordPress site (



Dr. F.H. (Frank) Tros

Coordination and research

Acronym SOWELL
Title Social dialogue in welfare services
Duration Dec 2020 - Dec 2022
Co-financing European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Contractnr. VS/2020/0242
Partners University of Milano, Italy
  University of Marcerata, Italy
  University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI, The Netherlands
  University of Copenhagen, FAOS, Denmark
  University of Bremen, Germany
  Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI), Slovakia
  Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, QUIT, Spain
  Federation of European Social Employers
  European Public Services Uniion (EPSU)

This project is financed by the European Commission, Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue Programme.

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