Social dialogue

Social dialogue is any type of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest relating directly to work and related economic and social policies.

The extent to which workers can express themselves on work related matters and participate in defining their working conditions is an important dimension of decent work. This can be channelled through collectively chosen representatives or involve direct interaction between workers and employers. The ability of workers to organise freely to defend their interests collectively in negotiations with the employer is a pivotal element of democracy at the workplace and the effectiveness of social dialogue.

Strikes and lockouts are one measure of the failure of social dialogue. They are perhaps the most high profile aspect of social dialogue, at least in terms of media coverage and public impact and attention. At the same time in certain circumstances, the absence of strike action could indicate the absence of the right to strike and/or weak social dialogue.

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