Study - Improving collective bargaining in Europe

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is planning to launch a procurement procedure for a study on Improving collective bargaining in Europe.


This announcement is made pursuant to Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, to award a low value contract for a study as a result of a negotiated procurement procedure. It is published ahead of the procurement procedure with basic information on the subject matter of the contract, to give economic operators the possibility to express interest in participating as tenderers in the subsequent procurement procedure.


Collective bargaining, understood as a process of negotiation between independent trade unions and employers (or employers' organisations) to define terms and conditions of employment and relations between the parties, is a fundamental part of labour relations. As a fundamental piece of the European Social Model, well-functioning collective bargaining is a priority of the Workers' Group, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the European Union at large.

However, the figures of collective bargaining coverage vary widely across EU countries, and has in some cases declined over time or stagnated. Many factors have been identified as possible causes: from actions of the EU institutions in the most recent economic and financial crisis, to obstacles to exercising related fundamental rights and union-busting practices, to changes in employment structure (from manufacturing to services), globalisation of markets, disruption caused by new management and algorithmic technologies, and the rise of non-standard forms of employment.

It is against this diverse background that the EESC Workers' Group is launching a study to better understand the underlying reasons and find concrete policy answers to strengthen collective bargaining in Europe.

The main research focus of this study will be to understand why some countries in the EU have low or very low levels of collective bargaining coverage, see further details under Languages/geographical area below. The second main goal, once the main reasons for the low levels of collective bargaining coverage have been established, is to propose policy recommendations based on the findings to promote collective bargaining in an effective manner, explaining which factors would need to change and how. This should include not just direct legal provisions, but also institutional changes, as well as recommendations for the trade unions involved, and should consider, amongst others, dimensions such as trade union membership, transition to democracies, limits to the right to strike, barriers to collective bargaining, union busting practices, disagreements at employer level on centralised bargaining, as well as the scope and level of collective bargaining.

The successful tenderer shall also provide publishable national reports for each country analysed.

Languages/geographical area

The study should be carried out in English and cover at least 8 of the following 14 countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Indicative timeline

  1. Launch of the invitation to tender: 3rd quarter2023.
  2. Contract award: early 4th quarter 2023.
  3. The final study report is expected within 11 months following the signature of the contract.
  4. Deadline for submission of tenders: approximately 3rd quarter 2023.


Participation is open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons established in the European Union (EU) or in a third country which has a special agreement with the EU in the field of public procurement on the conditions laid down in that agreement. This includes:

  • All EU Member States;
  • Parties to special international agreements with the EU in the field of public procurement:
    • European Economic Area agreement (EEA): Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein;
    • Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA): North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.


Entities established in a country that has access to the procurement can express interest in participating in the planned procedure by clicking on “Express interest” in the eTendering planned call for tenders’ details page (see eTendering help page). It is possible to express interest as an individual organisation or a consortium.


By submitting your contact details, you consent to the EESC processing this personal data in line with this Privacy Statement. To access, change or delete your data at any moment, please contact the data controller by sending an email to


Please note that this announcement does not create any obligation for the EESC to launch a procurement procedure. The EESC will take the submitted information into account only to identify potential candidates. Expressing interest to participate in this type of negotiated procedure does not create any legal right or legitimate expectation on the part of any economic operator, and the EESC has the right to cancel the procedure at any time. The documents of the actual call for tenders (invitation letter, tender specifications and draft contract) will only be provided to the identified candidates when the procedure is launched, and any tender received from a legal or natural person not invited to tender will be rejected.


Expressions of interest in participating or requests for further information should be sent via the eTendering planned call for tenders’ details page


Friday, September 8, 2023 - 17:00