Study - From the COVID-19 emergency measures to defend employment and health and safety in the workplaces, to a new strengthened system of Industrial relations

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The coronavirus pandemic has brought the biggest crisis in recent memory, not only to Europe, but to the whole world. Tens of thousands of deaths despite the lockdown measures, and massive strains on public health systems, are the immediate effects, bringing drastic changes in social life, but also risking the foundations of contemporary society such as the affordable transportation and open borders that make the EU (and in general, a globalised society) possible. According to some estimates, up to 55 million jobs are at risk in Europe alone, and many of them never to be filled again. Moreover, the likely lasting effects of the economic disturbances (secondary waves of infection, lack of a safe and effective vaccine) can potentially multiply the damage and prevent any swift recovery, preventing any attempted return to pre-crisis structure, the so-called ‘business as usual’.

For this purpose, the EESC Workers’ Group has decided to launch this study, in order to gather all the work already done by social partners across the EU, the concrete measures negotiated, defended, and enforced by trade unions to safeguard jobs and working and living standards, as well as health and safety of workers, during the pandemic.

Using the data available and the input from the social partners, the study should provide an overview of the labour market situation in the selected countries, present best practices of workers’ participation and consultation, as well as general social partner involvement, and provide recommendations on policy response. Special focus must be placed on specific collective agreements reached during the COVID crisis, labour market innovations and labour organisation changes, identifying them for best practices that can be maintained after the crisis is over and/or exported to other countries.

The objective of the study shall be to provide policy makers and social partners with concrete and detailed examples of best practices of labour market innovations and collective bargaining, drafting concise recommendations on social dialogue and organisation of labour that can be set up for new waves of the virus and, more importantly, that can be maintained after the crisis. Special attention should be paid to innovative solutions dealing with the traditional lack of protection in vulnerable sectors such as non-standard forms of work and precarious contracts.

Indicative calendar

  • Launch of the invitation to tender: estimated timing October 2020.
  • Contract award: estimated timing December 2020.
  • The final study is expected within 10 months following the signature of the contract.
  • Deadline for offers: approximately in November 2020.


Expressions of interest to participate or requests for further information should be sent (before the deadline mentioned below) to the following functional mailbox:


Friday, Oktober 23, 2020 - 13:00