Social dialogue - Programme areas - CNV Internationaal

Strengthening Social dialogue

Social dialogue is at the heart of the CNV Internationaal's work. Trade unions have a unique position as social partners and representative membership organisations with the ability to conclude binding agreements. Social dialogue is both an objective in itself and an instrument for implementing objectives. This approach is CNV Internationaal’s key added value. Effective social dialogue reduces inequality, provides legitimacy and ownership to public policies and enhances participatory democracy based on accountability, transparency and policy oversight. Furthermore, agreements reached through social dialogue are sustainable because of their negotiated nature. 

In order to strengthen social dialogue, several intermediate steps are required. Firstly, the government needs to ensure that the infrastructure for social dialogue is in place. This is crucial: without proper infrastructure , effective social dialogue can hardly take place. Secondly, the social partners need to agree on the mandates of the dialogue partners and respect the fundamental freedoms as laid down by the ILO. Social partners need to trust each other to be able to conclude agreements. Good quality proposals by trade unions, skilled and well-prepared negotiators, and committed social partners during the implementation of policies and agreements are all essential to build trust and provide a conducive environment for social dialogue.   

Where needed, CNV Internationaal and its partner organisations apply specific advocacy strategies to help meet the preconditions for social dialogue and to influence negotiation in the process. CNV Internationaal and the trade union partners adopt the ‘insider approach’ towards decision makers: advocacy strategies are applied that focus on constructive arguments, joint learning, cooperation and persuasion. If this approach fails, the ‘outsider approach’ will be applied, i.e. campaigning, confronting, forced changes etc.

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